Crews battle to save homes from growing sinkhole
A DESPERATE race against time is under way to protect two apartment buildings from a widening seven-metre sinkhole that opened up in the centre of a road.
Waves ripped a hole in the base of a major sea wall in Tramore, Co Waterford -- and then gales carved a cave, into which a large portion of the Strand Road collapsed.
The problem initially presented as cracking and subsidence, but soon, large portions of the road fell into a widening chasm. The fear is that if the chasm widens further, it could undermine a footpath and then damage the foundations of a number of apartment blocks.
Engineer Ken Walsh said they believed they were dealing with the aftermath of the biggest storm to hit the south-east coast in almost 50 years.
Mr Walsh said a 20-strong construction crew were working round the clock to protect the sea wall and fill the cavity.
"We are doing everything we can to stabilise the sea wall and the hole," he told the Irish Independent.
Apartment residents Paul Cummins and Mark Brown were astonished by the damage.
"I live in Southshore Apartments directly behind where the hole opened in the road. My windows were being hit by the waves -- not by the spray, by the waves," said Mr Brown.
Mr Cummins lives just 25m away in Beachside Apartments.
"I woke up at 7am or so to hear the sound of loud bangs. I thought someone was trying to kick down my door. But then I looked outside and realised it was the storm hammering against the sea wall," he said.
Nearby residents Olive McCarthy and Kitty Heffernan said they hadn't seen a storm like it since the 1989 tempest.
Former Tramore Mayor Joe Conway said the fear was that the gales could result in local sea defences collapsing altogether. Meanwhile, in Ballybunion, Co Kerry, a massive sinkhole appeared above Long Beach leaving a hole in the tarmac.
"We experienced tremendous surges and the wall protecting the road along Long Beach was undermined, leaving a gaping hole," Councillor Robert Beasley told the Irish Independent.