East Cork Municipality asked To Review Ballybrannigan Beach Closure

By Seamus Whelehan

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Two East Cork Municipality Councillors are continuing to put the heat on Cork County Council to have Ballybrannigan strand re-opened.

Both Fine Gael Councillors Susan McCarthy and Michael Hegarty asked that the popular stretch of beach be re-opened ahead of next year’s bathing season.
The move comes following the publication of two reports into the closure of the public amenity.
One of the recommendations of a report by Malachy Walsh and partners into the coastal erosion has suggested the creation of a red zone of 10 metres from the cliff face, along the entire stretch of beach warning of unstable cliffs.
It also recommended the strengthening of the cliff face directly below the public car park.
The stretch of Ballybrannigan beach was cordoned off since April 2016 after a dangerous situation developed.
The car park and access to the strand was closed by the Local Authority after it was deemed unsafe.
Coastal erosion has meant that the cliffs are at risk of collapse.
Signage warning of the dangers of unstable cliff faces and advising the public not to enter the area were put in place.
The closure sparked an outcry from the public and also garnered tremendous support through social media.
Ballybrannigan is used by a number of organisations, individuals and is popular with dog walkers.
East Cork Municipality councillors have made repeated calls to have the amenity reopened.
Coastal management consultants Malachy Walsh were hired to assess the coastal erosion, their recommendations were submitted to council earlier this month.
Cllr Susan McCarthy told the November sitting of Cork County Council’s Southern Committee “we said all we needed really was signage just to get the beach open, and it has taken two reports and two years to finally come to the conclusion signage is needed.”
A senior council official responded by stating “it’s more than signage, repairs are required to the slip way, rock armour under the earthen cliff that has given way and then signage.”
They added “if it was just signage it could have been open two years ago.”
Fellow Fine Gael Cllr Michael Hegarty said “while most of the problems are to the left of the slip way, the right hand side of the beach also needs addressing.”
He welcomed the progress and like Cllr McCarthy hoped the beach would be reopened for summer 2018.

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