We'll fight Clontarf battle to the end

Melanie Finn

ONE of my earliest childhood memories is being bought a dribbling '99' from Terry's newsagents and sitting on Clontarf seafront to gobble it down.

The newsagents is long gone but the promenade is still there in all its glory, unchanged from my childhood. Having grown up in Clontarf, it has been at the centre of many more sepia-tinted moments. From learning to ride my bike along the promenade before graduating to an ill-advised dalliance with roller-blading, it's a place that has always been there in my mind's eye.

One of the unsung but wonderful amenities on the northside that's both safe and scenic, the Clontarf seafront has probably been taken for granted for too long.

Some love it for the wild geese that gather there in the winter; some for the stunning sunsets in the evening; others for the bracing air on a crisp, winter morning.

On any given evening, it's thronged with dog walkers, cyclists, mums with prams, people playing football, joggers and couples munching on salty chips from Beshoffs as they sit on a bench and watch the boats come in.

On those special Sundays of late summer, the out-of-town cars carrying families from Kerry or Donegal, Mayo or Wexford, spill out their passengers and unpack the sandwiches before the short walk down to Croker.


So it wasn't just locals who learned with horror of the Dublin City Council's proposal to erect this mound.

I joined a massive 5,000 people gathered at the wooden bridge to show their objection to the plans, last Sunday.

Speakers claimed that there hadn't been an adequate consultation process with members of the public -- and local councillors hadn't even been told about it.

It's a plan that would have the late Lord Mayor Sean 'Dublin Bay' Loftus turning in his grave. This has nothing to do with fears over falling property prices in one tiny enclave of Clontarf or protecting the sea views of those living along the seafront.

There were people there from all over Dublin, who think of this view, one of the joys of living in a city on the sea, as their own.

Many of us have had our lives turned upside down by the events of the past two years. Jobs have been lost, homes repossessed and we've seen a spate of young people emigrate to find work. We may not have protested en masse over the capitalisation of the banks, the woeful deal made with the IMF .

However this particular proposal to erect this mound in one of the most scenic areas of the northside appears to have woken a sleeping dragon and hit a nerve among Dubliners. A beautiful amenity that soothes the soul is under the threat and we're not going to stand for it.

There's no doubting that some flood defence measures need to be put in place but the structure under proposal is excessively high and crude.

Local resident Roddy Doyle put it best when he stated at the meeting: "Culture is this place here and our appreciation of it and our determination to make sure our children and ourselves can enjoy and revel in this and appreciate this. And feel the surge of pride that it is to be a Dubliner and an Irish person."