Saturday 20 April 2019

When council and OPW work as one...

Hubert Murphy

When it comes to coastal erosion and how best to protect areas, it can take years for projects to be planned and completed and success stories can be rare - but then along comes Laytown.

Last week, Minister Kevin 'Boxer' Moran paid a visit to officially unveil the new promenade and defences erected in co-operation between Meath County Council and the OPW.

For years, the land beneath the road at Laytown, opposite O'Reilly's and the Tara Guesthouse, was giving way under the pounding of the Irish Sea.

It was felt something had to be done and along came engineer Jim Colwell, his team from Meath CC, the OPW planners and Carty Construction.

With a plan, designed by the Marine Institute and University College Cork, a rock armour design was undertaken and over the course of 2018, put in place.

Today, it looks the part and now the aim of the local community is to see the other stretches of the coastline, from Laytown to Bettystown and beyond, also reinforced against the elements.

Speaking at the launch, Area Manager Fiona Lawless said the final product showed what can be achieved when two authorities work together on a project.

Cathaoirleach of the council, Tom Kelly, said sea defences dated back 120 years in the area and part of the original walls were still there.

'Following years of lobbying, we have achieved, what I consider, to be a very successful outcome. Laytown suffered badly from the effects of storms and the OPW vowed to help,' he stated.

He said it was a tribute to Jim Colwell, Meath CC, Cartys and the OPW that it came to fruition.

Minister Moran said that he sought funding for such projects and was delighted to be in Laytown - for the first time - to celebrate the success of the venture.

He said the authorities and Cllr Kelly deserved great credit for pushing it.

'More work is needed and I will help when I can,' he added.

To mark the event, Cllr Kelly presented the minister with a copy of the recently published history of the Laytown Races, the minister remarking, 'I hope there's a few tips in it for next year!'

Fiona Lawless explained that there were huge plans ahead for the whole Bettystown coastal area - costing millions - and it would be great for local residents.

She also lauded the efforts of volunteers who assisted with the upkeep of the beach, saying they were invaluable to the council.

She also thanked engineer Christy Clarke and the outdoor staff for their enormous efforts.

Drogheda Independent