Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has expressed concern at the slow pace of efforts to prevent further coastal erosion along the route of the Dublin Rosslare Rail Line that runs along the Wicklow coastline.
“Having been commissioned by Irish Rail to conduct detailed design and planning services, including environmental assessments and statutory submissions, for the East Coast Railway Infrastructure Protection Projects (ECRIPP), Jacob’s furnished their report in June 2022.
And the latest response which I received from the NTA offered confirmation that they are engaged in the carrying out of several surveys in the area, which will inform their work on the Rail line.
This includes non-intrusive ecological surveys, topographic surveys, and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) surveys, along with bathymetric surveys – which are water-based survey that maps the depth and shape of underwater terrain to illustrate the land that lies below.
Following completion of which a public consultation will be carried out.
While I welcome the confirmation by the NTA that coastal protection works will take place, along the East Coast Railway line running from Dublin to Rosslare along the coast of Wicklow, I am concerned at the slow pace of work taking place.
It is critical that this is not allowed to be delayed by bureaucratic entanglements or red tape.
We have been waiting several years on the commencement of efforts of the necessary scale to address the impact of coastal erosion along the rail line and are still awaiting the commencement of public consultations which will precede major work.
While intermediate work has been carried out, the situation along the coastline, and in particular at the Murrough in Wicklow Town is deteriorating.
The impact of coast erosion has had a serious impact on the integrity of the railway line. And with the advent of climate change and the further damage that we can anticipate in the years ahead.
The impact of Storm Babet resulted in considerable damage to the Murrough coastal Walk in Wicklow. With large parts of the coastal walkway washed away.
The environmental impact of global warming will pose further challenges in the years and decades ahead.
If efforts were allowed to continue at the current pace, the whole coastline will end up being washed into the sea.
“The importance of this work cannot be overstated. The current Rail line carry’s two services, the Dublin to Rosslare line, and the DART. Both are crucial transport networks for Wicklow.
There is almost 80km of the rail line running which is particularly vulnerable to climate change. The section running from Killiney through Bray and onto Greystones includes cliffside ledges and tunnels which have already undergone repairs due to erosion in the past, while the section between Greystones and Wicklow runs for some distance at a low level alongside a long shingle beach.
We urgently need to see the allocation of sufficient funding from the government to ensure that measures are put in place at the earliest opportunity. Climate change will not wait for the government to respond.
It will continue unabated. And it will be the people of Wicklow who will be forced to pay the price, as we watch our coastline washed into the sea, as a result of government failure."