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Cost benefit analysis required before Seaview erosion scheme is approved

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Patrick O’Donovan, T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW), on a visit Kilmore earlier this year where he met with Wexford County Council to announce funding approval for flood mitigation and coastal protection works at Seaview, Kilmore. Pictured are councillors Ger Carthy, Lisa McDonald and Jim Moore, council official Gerry Forde and local residents Frank Lonergan, Lucia Chisolam and Andy Grant

Patrick O’Donovan, T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW), on a visit Kilmore earlier this year where he met with Wexford County Council to announce funding approval for flood mitigation and coastal protection works at Seaview, Kilmore. Pictured are councillors Ger Carthy, Lisa McDonald and Jim Moore, council official Gerry Forde and local residents Frank Lonergan, Lucia Chisolam and Andy Grant

Patrick O’Donovan, T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW), on a visit Kilmore earlier this year where he met with Wexford County Council to announce funding approval for flood mitigation and coastal protection works at Seaview, Kilmore. Pictured are councillors Ger Carthy, Lisa McDonald and Jim Moore, council official Gerry Forde and local residents Frank Lonergan, Lucia Chisolam and Andy Grant

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Emergency works at Seaview in Kilmore Quay have greatly reduced coastal erosion since their completion earlier this year, however, now thoughts are turning to the bigger picture and the designed to preserve this small inlet, and the properties within it, for the long-term. Speaking at the monthly meeting of the Rosslare Municipal District (RMD) Engineer Gerry Forde confirmed the emergency works had been a success and that there were currently no fears that any of the properties in Seaview would be lost before the larger project began.

While that project has yet to begin Mr Forde confirmed everything on schedule pending further planning and submissions.

“Is that a proposal, or is it funded?” asked Councillor Ger Carthy. “We’re six months messing around with a report, what’s the hold up? Is it a scheme that’s up in the department for funding, or is it a proposal to go to the department for funding.”

"What we’ll get from the reports is a preliminary coastal erosion study which will determine if works are required,” explained Mr Forde. “We then do an estimate of costs and a feasibility study which we will send up to the Office of Public Works (OPW) and they will determine whether we’ll get funding or not. But what I would say is if the cost-benefit analysis doesn’t stack up we’re unlikely to get funding from the OPW.”

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A process used to measure the benefits of a decision or taking action minus the costs associated with taking that action, the notion of a cost-benefit analysis being applied to the coastal erosion scheme did not sit well with Cllr Carthy.

“That’s sowing a seed in the heads of the consultants, straight away: cost benefit analysis. That shouldn’t come into it, it either rises or it falls depending on the technical detail,” he said. “We need to be more proactive about how we drive the agenda. We have 40 per cent of the coastline in our district which means we have 40 per cent of the problems. So we don’t need anything about cost-benefit analysis.”

Although Mr Forde explained that the OPW would not “entertain any report” unless a cost-benefit analysis was included, the cathaoirleach Councillor Lisa McDonald felt that, given the continuing threat of climate change, it was high time the OPW changed its way of doing business.

“It needs to change its structure and the way they’re do it because we’re in a different environment now, with climate change and what’s going on, they need to be more proactive,” she said.

And while Seaview and neighbouring Ballyhealy remain the focus, Mr Forde assured Councillor Jim Moore that the rest of the district, from Kilmore Quay to Carne, had not been forgotten and that the council was merely focusing on the most at-risk areas first.


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