A Duncannon resident has warned the Council they will 'come to regret' not removing hundreds of large, sharp stones which currently lie on the beach.
Kevin Downes lives within metres of the beach and says the stones represent a serious health and safety risk. What makes it worse, according to Kevin, is that the Council are the ones responsible for the stones being there.
'They're there with years, but the sand is gone lower at the moment so they're more visible,' he said. 'I haven't heard of anyone being injured on them but I know people have to tiptoe their way through them.
'They were left there by council workers when they were bringing in the boulders to help with the coastal erosion. Those stones came with the boulders, the people doing the work never cleared them away afterwards.'
Exacerbating the problem, Kevin says, is building work recently completed on new houses near the beach which has caused more stones and debris to gather on the sand.
Having contacted George Colfer from Wexford County Council's Environment Department, Kevin said he was told the council were not going to remove the stones from the beach. However, Deputy Verona Murphy has also been in touch with Mr Colfer, and she said she is determined to ensure the beach remains safe for those visiting.
'The beach is in a bad state, it is being monitored but is in a very poor state on health and safety grounds alone,' said Deputy Murphy. 'It's three months since I suggested the beach should be graded to remove the waste and rubble but that hasn't happened as the Council says its prohibited to remove anything from the beach area under review.'
An excerpt from an email sent to Deputy Murphy by Mr Colfer states: 'The issue here is that the sand level on the beach has dropped, leaving the stones exposed. This is a regular occurrence on beaches particularly as a result of storms; however I expect the sand levels will recover over the coming months and cover over the stones again. Removal of any material including stones from beaches is prohibited.'
Yet, Deputy Murphy contends that, far from recovering, the sand levels on the beach have continued to recede.
'The sand levels have not recovered, in fact they've continued to recede. I will be asking for a further review given the risk it poses to beach-goers health.'
Meanwhile, Kevin believes the Council could regret not acting on his advice. 'The beach is ruined because of this. There's a danger the Council will come to regret this, they have been warned about it.'
New Ross Standard