Kerry battles ongoing sea erosion

PROBLEMS caused by flooding and coastal erosion in Co Kerry are getting worse with each passing winter, it was claimed yesterday.

After Mayo, Cork and Galway, Kerry has the longest coastline, extending to almost 400km. More than 100km are reported to be at risk, with about 40km in need of urgent remedial work.

Kerry County Council engineers have estimated the cost of work to deal with erosion at around €25m, but the council has not succeeded in getting any money of that scale from the Government.

Climate changes, which are resulting in more storms and higher seas, are exacerbating problems, according to observers in vulnerable areas.

Particularly sensitive areas include Rossbeigh, Waterville, Ballyferriter, the Maharees, and Ballybunion. The Ballylongford area near the Shannon Estuary is prone to flooding.

Cllr Liam Purtill said about 50 acres around Ballylongford were permanently under water and serious breaches in embankments had led to increased flooding in recent years.

“If the embankments are not properly maintained, thousands of acres could be lost, which would result in great hardship for land- owners,” he said.

The embankments had previously been the responsibility of the Land Commission, but since the abolition of the commission nobody seemed to be looking after them, Mr Purtill said.

His proposal at a meeting of Kerry County Council - that the Government transfer responsibility for embankments to the Office of Public Works, under the new Land Bill - was passed.

A call for action to deal with severe flooding which had been experienced in the Cromane area, over the past 10 years, was made by Cllr Johnny O’Connor.

It is now hoped to use 100,000 tonnes of material, to be excavated during the construction of a new pier in Cromane, for building up embankments in the area.

Rossbeigh is another area under pressure, with the sea washing away acres of land and constantly undermining a cliff-top roadway.

Cllr Michael Cahill has warned that Rossbeigh spit, which includes one of Kerry’s most popular beaches, could also be under threat.

A number of Kerry’s leading golf clubs are also engaged in a relentless battle with the elements and have been doing their own protection work at a cost of several million euro.

Some holes at the world-famous golf links, in Ballybunion, have been in danger for several years. The club has put boulders at the base of the cliffs to break the power of the waves.

Golf clubs in Tralee, Dooks and Waterville have had to take similar action.

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