A sum of €3 million is required to put in necessary protection measures in the Sailín/Silverstrand area where constant coastal erosion and future severe storms could result in the beach and the cliff face being completely washed away.
The fragile nature of the Sailín/Silverstrand area was highlighted at this week’s Galway City Council meeting with officials and councillors warning that if nothing is done soon it may be lost forever. City manager Brendan McGrath revealed that a minimum of €3 million would be needed to protect the area while director of services, Joe O’Neill said that site investigations are taking place and an application for a foreshore licence, which will lead to funding, will be submitted in February.
Cllr Donal Lyons welcomed the news that the foreshore licence will be applied for next month, as it will go some way towards providing protection for the cliff which had another substantial piece taken away during recent storm conditions. He added that a previous impact study found that in 15 to 20 years time the cliff will be washed away. These concerns were echoed Cllrs Tom Costello and Declan McDonnell who called for immediate action before there is nothing left of this popular Galway amenity.
Cllr Catherine Connolly noted that despite An Bord Pleanala granting permission for remedial works in Silverstrand back in 2007 “not a single thing has been done”. She acknowledged that €3 million is not within the gift of the local council, however “any further delay in carrying out these essential conservation works will be detrimental to Silverstrand”.
“Once the application for a foreshore licence has been submitted to the Department in February of this year, the Minister must ensure that the application is processed as quickly as possible and funding provided. Clearly councillors will have to work hard together to ensure that the Government and the Minister is pressurised into providing the appropriate funding,” said Cllr Connolly, who added councillors are waiting a full report on the extent of the damage to the cliff at Silverstrand.
The city council is fully committed to putting pressure on the Department in relation to the foreshore licence, according to Mr O’Neill who is also very concerned for the area. “There is a danger the whole thing will be washed away. If we do nothing there will be nothing left. We will get the application into the Department for the foreshore licence and see what can be done to get funding for protection of the cliff. By this time next year we will have to get started on something. We will be putting the pressure on, particularly in the context of what happened in the last few weeks,” said Mr O’Neill who added there were a few funding possibilities.