| 3.3°C Dublin

The seawall or floods - council warns Clontarf

FLOOD defences in Clontarf, which is at daily risk from tidal surges, could be delayed for up to eight years, Dublin City Council has warned.

Residents and businesses have been told that if they do not accept the latest proposals, the project may not be completed for a considerable length of time.

Clontarf is among the city's most vulnerable points to flooding but an attempt to remedy the problem with defences of up to 2.75m in height was opposed by local groups.

A revised plan of installing a protective embankment with a maximum height of 2.17m was also rejected.

The overall cost of the scheme, including the installation of a new watermain, would be €9.8m, jointly funded by the Office of Public Works (OPW) and the Department of Environment.

Executive manager Tom Leahy said the latest design was the lowest the defences could be made and still be effective.

The engineer told a meeting of city councillors: "There is no point investing in defences which do not protect people."

A report to the representatives warned that, while funding was available for the project in 2011 from the OPW, "this funding may not be available subsequently due to review of all government capital funding".

It could require "six to eight years" to get back to the current position, even if there is a willingness on the part of the two funding agencies to fund a complete abandonment of the current project and a total redesign, the meeting heard.

The OPW has warned the council that funding may be withdrawn if the project is not confirmed by the end of this year.

Last week, the revised plans were flatly rejected by residents and businesses in the suburb.

In a joint statement, the Clontarf Residents Association (CRA) and the Clontarf Business Association (CBA) accused the council of ignoring the wishes of thousands of people throughout Dublin and beyond who are "vehemently opposed to the plan in its current format".

The plan would see a series of mounds and walls being built along 3km of the seafront promenade, between Alfie Byrne Road and the Bull Wall. The contract to carry out the scheme has been awarded and the company is ready to start.

Following severe flooding in 2002, Clontarf was identified by a study as one of the city's "at risk" zones.