THE COUNCIL has claimed that there is ' no immediate threat' to homes close to the dunes in Portrane where recently, a storm claimed 12 feet of coastline for the sea.
Fingal County Council has no immediate plans to take physical measures to protect the under threat coastline at the Burrow in Portane and said it wants to study a wider area before pursuing any coastal defence project that may just move the problem up the coast. But Cllr. Gerry McGuire called for immediate action and said he was concerned what the effects of a similar storm might be. 'If you live there, you want to be assured that your house will be there in the morning and not in the middle of the Irish Sea,' he said. Giving a report on the recent coastal erosion event at the Burrow, the council said: 'It is estimated that approximately three to four metres of dune was washed away over a 400 metre stretch of dunes at the southern part of the Burrow in Portrane. '
This took place during an easterly storm combined with a very high tide. There is no immediate threat to any houses on the Burrow.' Cllr. Darragh Butler (FF) agreed that the situation was urgent and had reached a 'critical' stage. Outlining the damage done by the storm, the council said: ' The coastal pathway has been damaged over a length of approximately 100m, but the pathway was designed to cater for coastal erosion and the pathway will be relocated further inland.' In terms of liability, the council laid the responsibility for protecting private homes on the threatened coastline at the feet of the worried householders. It said: 'Irish legislation relevant to coastal erosion and protection indicates that state agencies are responsible for the protection of public property (e.g. public roads, public toilets) against coastal erosion. 'Such agencies can apply to the OPW for funding to carry out the necessary studies and appropriate coastal defence works.
Private property owners however, are liable for damage to their own property.' Reporting on the nature of the dunes and the beach in that area, the council said: ' The dunes and beach at the Burrow in Portrane and the South Beach in Rush form a dynamic system which has historically undergone cyclic periods of erosion and accretion. ' The threat of erosion to property has been an issue for many decades, with the location of the erosion problem moving from different areas along the seafront of the Burrow.
'To date there hasn't been any significant damage to private property as a result of coastal erosion.' The local authority has observed a change in the area threatened by erosion in recent years. It explained: 'A major coastal study was undertaken in 1998 at the Burrow, when the northern section was experiencing a lot of erosion, while the southern section was accreting at the time. 'It seems that this pattern has now changed around, whereby the northern section is accreting and the southern section is eroding.
'In 2007, a second dune conservation study was commissioned which advocated a 'do nothing' approach, while carrying out more detailed survey work to establish the erosion and accretion patterns in this subcell of the Irish sea. 'Funding will be sought from the OPW to carry out the necessary survey work and studies, which will inform what measures are appropriate at this location to protect public property.' But the council's bio-diversity officer warned that physical erosion barriers would require foundations of up to three metres and would come at an enormous cost. It is estimated the study of the coastline will take about six months from the time it is commissioned.