Friday 24 May 2019

Locals protest over closed slipway

Residents of Kilmore and Kilmore Quay met with engineers Gerry Forde and George Colfer from Wexford County Council at the beach access slipway in Seaview
Residents of Kilmore and Kilmore Quay met with engineers Gerry Forde and George Colfer from Wexford County Council at the beach access slipway in Seaview

Anna Hayes

Angry residents in the Seaview area of Kilmore made their voices heard on Thursday morning when they met council members and officials to discuss the recent closure of the slipway to the beach.

While the council has stated that the route was dangerous and action was required, what has irked the residents most is the fact that nobody was informed of the closure before it happened.

Local resident Michael Murphy said the old slipway had been broken up and taken away, replaced with rock armour and a fence.

The closure of the slipway means that there is no access to the kilometres of beach between White Hole and Kilmore Quay.

Mr Murphy said there had been a very good turnout for the meeting on Thursday, adding that there was a lot of people who were very angry about the situation. He pointed out that many of the houses in this area were holiday homes and he had been told that those homeowners had also voiced their concerns.

Mr Murphy explained that work had been carried out on the slipway in 2014 but had not been effective as local knowledge had not been taken into account.

'We live down here and we know more about the tides than anyone. They put steps on the slipway in 2013 and it was a disaster.

He added: 'A lorryload of ready mix last year would have solved a lot of problems. The big thing is that when they fix it, they have to maintain it like they do in Kilmore, and not just come down when there's a problem.'

Local councillor, and mayor, Cllr Jim Moore said that the number of people who turned up to the meeting was testament to the popularity of the beach which, he said, had always had a slipway down to it.

He remarked: 'I've raised this issue three times at meetings so the council taking action without telling anyone has not helped the situation. The engineers made the wrong call and have been caught out.'

Cllr Moore pointed out that the closure had implications not only for residents and tourists, but also for emergency services and for agricultural drainage which, he said, would be vulnerable if access to the beach was closed for too long.

The area has had its share of issues with coastal erosion in recent years and rock armour has been used to try to protect headland and roads along the coast.

In recent years, shifting tides and winds have resulted in the sand on the beach and foreshore disaappearing. However, in the past month, the sand has returned to the beach which is now, ironically, inaccessible.

Coastal Engineer George Colfer explained that following Stom Ophelia in late 2017, a section of the concrete slipway had collapsed.

'In April 2018, the remaining section of concrete slipway was completely undermined and in danger of collapse. Wexford County Council demolished the access on safety grounds and placed rock armour to prevent erosion of the public road. These works were temporary, in order to make the area safe.'

He said the beach access was currently closed but the council was looking at providing temporary pedestrian access for the summer.

He added that consulting engineers were looking at a design for a permanent access that they hoped to have in place by late 2018/early 2019.

Wexford People

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