Major challenge of coastal erosion facing the island

The chief executive of Sligo County Council has described coastal erosion as one of the greatest challenges that climate change will bring to this island nation.


But Ciaran Hayes has told councillors that rock armour is not the answer to saving the coastline.


Strandhill was one of the worst hit coastal areas in Sligo during recent storms.


According to local Fine Gael Councillor Sinead Maguire, it’s seafront is the base for 400 jobs.


But Strandhill was not the only coastal area ripped apart by the waves.


And at this week’s meeting of the county council, there were some sombre warnings of what climate change has in store.


Cllr Maguire said it is becoming more of an issue that cannot be put on the long finger.


And and she added it is causing some disquiet in the village of Strandhill.


She said we need to find out what is the most appropriate method to protect what we have. Rock armour had been installed but despite this there has been a loss of dunes.



County Council Director of Services Tom Kilfeather told councillors the whole coastline of Sligo is being impacted by coastal erosion and that there is a much bigger discussion on a national level to be had about  how coastal erosion is to be dealt with.


Mr Hayes said the general perception that rock armour is the solution needs to be debunked.


He said any measures implemented need to be fully researched and any intervention will be very costly. All works need to be fully researched and fully funded but that would not be in the gift of Sligo County Council.


He said all coastal counties are going to lose coastline and that it will not be possible to protect all of the coastline.


He pointed out that in some parts of this country there is even strategic infrastructure that is at risk and what we are facing is major decisions that will have to be made.


But he said if there was one message that should go out from the council meeting, it was that rock armour is not the answer.