Sea rips into the coast along popular County Sligo village

Up to five feet of land in places has been lost to the sea at Strandhill over the past week.

vertopping at the popular beach has wrecked havoc along the coastline particularly to the right of the cannon with crashing waves causing severe coastal erosion.

The unprotested caravan park is under serious threat from the sea while there is also continuing ongoing concern for the golf course off the main car park at the promenade.

Chunks of land have fallen into the sea over the past couple of days with fencing collapsing and coastal paths literally falling away.

There are no immediate plans to install rock armour at the location to prevent further erosion.

However, hopes are being pinned on a coastal erosion study which has been commissioned to address the issue stretching from Strandhill to the Easkey.

Earlier last year, Sligo County Council was granted €72,000 from the Office of Public Works (OPW) to fund the ‘Sligo Bay Coastal Erosion & Flood Risk Management Study’.

Director of Infrastructure, Environment and Fire Services Tom Kilfeather told The Sligo Champion that the study will take most of 2022 to complete and is part of a long-term solution to tackle coastal erosion which he claims is a national issue and does not just affect Sligo beaches.

“Once we have the study, we will review it, see what the findings are, and consider how to proceed going forward,” he said.

“This is part of a long-term approach. Obviously, all we can do in the short-term is to try and repair as we see fit depending on resources available. I think this is the right approach and it is supported by the stakeholders.”

Mr. Kilfeather said that this issue does not just affect Strandhill and the Council have also had “significant problems with coastal erosion” in Rosses Point.

“We worked in conjunction with County Sligo Golf Club in 2021, they carried out some repairs to works they had done previously, and we worked with them to carry out additional works between their location and the ramp which gives access to the second beach in Rosses Point,” he said.

“That’s a repair job and it is a short-term solution, but it appears to have worked well. There is also the threat of storms as well as continued use of amenities and that is something being looked at nationally as to how to deal with erosion going forward.”

The causes of coastal erosion are typically the actions of waves and currents, as well heavy storms which can lead to significant damage of natural areas.

However, there is also a human element to coastal erosion, such as increased footfall at beaches like Strandhill due to the success of the Wild Atlantic Way.

This means some infrastructure could be at risk and this requires continual assessment from the OPW to appraise and prevent any potential damages.

There are a number of conflicting views regarding how to tackle coastal erosion and Mr. Kilfeather said there are some who claim it is not the council’s responsibility to carry out intervention works and that it should let nature take its course.

“But that can lead to houses and roads being lost. In Rosses Point there’s a challenge for the Golf Club.

“There is a balance between intervention, which is very expensive, and allowing nature to take its course,” he said.

Mr. Kilfeather added that the biggest challenge regarding intervention was who was going to pay for it and deciding “what the approach is going to be on a national basis in the long-term.”

“It is all part of the Climate Action Agenda, and it is great talking about these things and having studies by experts, but what is most important is delivering on the solutions that are identified in the long-term,” he said.

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