‘Save our coastline’

The effects of coastal erosion at the entrance to Lagg beach.
The effects of coastal erosion at the entrance to Lagg beach.

Coastal erosion is a “big issue” for Inishowen in relation to the Wild Atlantic Way and Donegal County Council has been urged to protect our shoreline or “find an outside body to do it for them.”

At the Inishowen Municipal District held in Carndonagh, councillors spoke of how a solution needed to be found soon to help protect the peninsula’s “vast” coastline, particularly at Lagg Beach and Pollan Bay in Ballyliffin - including the Ballyliffin Golf Club- which are immediately under threat.

While conceding that coastal erosion was a natural process, councillors said the effect of the erosion at some local locations had been devastating and called for the planned Office of Public Works and Donegal County Council survey into the process to be undertaken sooner rather than later.

Councillor Bernard McGuinness said the situation needed to be tackled at “county level” and stated the issue had been raised at “practically every meeting.”

He said a survey had been undertaken 25 years ago in conjunction with the University of Ulster and the EU, which cost “millions” at the time but they were left with “no baseline” to work from.

He added: “It’s 25 years on and I think we need to take erosion very seriously.”

Colr McGuinness asked that, ahead of the survey being undertaken, that temporary measures be put in place to try and protect the coastline.

He said: “I know all these things need structure but we need a solution now. If the Council is not prepared to do it themselves then they should be looking for funding from outside bodies to do it for them. Either do it yourself or pay someone else to do it. But, if we sit doing nothing then we are at fault.”

Colr Martin Farren said he had met with representatives at Ballyliffin Golf Club and a meeting had been requested with the OPW but they had refused to do so.

Colr Martin McDermott said the entrance to Lagg beach was “currently very dangerous” and said “lots of pressure” must be put on the OPW in relation to a solution.

He said he had met with National parks and Wildlife and the Council at the location in a bid to find a solution.

Councillor Albert Doherty said there was a “fear” the study into coastal erosion would go to tender and “take a year or two,” adding it must be undertaken as soon as possible, adding that “in Ballyliffin, something needs to be done now before it’s too late.”

The councillors were addressing their concerns to John Gallagher, senior engineer with the Council’s environment section and they thanked him for attending the meeting.

He submitted a report on erosion to the councillors and said a meeting has been requested with the OPW on their draft report in relation to the Irish Coastal Protection Study, which looks at how best to manage risks associated with coastal flooding and erosion. Phase 5 of the study relates to the North West coast. He added that every engineered protection work installed by the Council must be maintained annually and budgeted for. As the Journal confirmed om Tuesday, Donegal County Council has applied to the OPW for funding to carry out risk management. He said the Council was currently engaging with the OPW on Lagg beach and Pollan Bay and added he would come back to the Councillors with more information on its progression.