Tuesday 28 March 2017

Famous faces lend support to fight over flood-defence wall

Miss Ireland Holly Carpenter and actor Niall Toibin at the protest yesterday
Miss Ireland Holly Carpenter and actor Niall Toibin at the protest yesterday
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

THE proposed flood defences for a north Dublin suburb was likened yesterday to the Berlin Wall during the Cold War as thousands of protesters gathered to voice their opposition to the plan.

Speaking to a crowd of around 3,000 protesters in Clontarf, Cork actor and comedian Niall Toibin drew from US president Ronald Reagan's "tear down this wall" speech in the 1980s.

He joked that the Berlin Wall was eventually taken down -- but that the Soviet leader doesn't work for Dublin City Council.

Mr Toibin does not live in the area but is opposed to the plan and feels it is his civic duty to protest against it, a spokesperson for the protesters said yesterday.

"It's my great pleasure to be here today to help with this protest," Mr Toibin told the crowd.

Comedian PJ Gallagher, Miss Ireland Holly Carpenter, presenter Ray Shah, rugby star Cian Healy and gardener Diarmuid Gavin also appeared to show their support.

Both Mr Gallagher and Mr Healy are from Clontarf.

Local Robert Alexander (78) told the Irish Independent that he disapproved with the way that the council went about picking the defence system.

"Everybody here wants to show that the council can't just arrange for things to be done and then turn their back on them," he said.

He added that the councillors would pay if they pushed it through.

"We'll do to them what we did to the last government," he added.

Ann Marren said that she was angry at the consultation process.

"It's absolutely important to keep the view the way it is. There wasn't any negotiation with the local people and I thought it was undemocratic," she said.

The protesters marched from Alfie Byrne Road to Clontarf Rugby Club to highlight today's deadline for locals to file an official objection to the plans.

They want local councillors to vote against the plan when the issue arises at a council meeting on December 6.

Height

The council originally planned to build a wall to a height of over 9ft along the promenade.

Following objections, the council revised the plan reducing the maximum height of the wall by two feet.

However, locals have still resolutely rejected the plans because they say it will destroy the view of the sea.

Independent councillor Nial Ring yesterday said that the plan was "national sabotage".

"It is ironic that in the week in which RTE is showing a programme on the Wood Quay debacle in the late 1970s that city officials are planning to destroy yet another city treasure -- hopefully this time they will fail," Mr Ring said.

Irish Independent

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