One of Co Cork’s premier sandy beaches is in danger of being blown away unless works are carried out soon.
Sand is being blown off Youghal’s Front Strand and fears have been raised that unless there is investment to restore the beach’s groynes — sturdy timber barriers built out into the sea to check erosion — it will have a serious, negative impact on the town’s tourism.
Cllr Mary Linehan-Foley said that every few weeks sand was being blown away from the beach, some of it ending up in the town centre.
She said she had been recently approached by a number of people who were extremely concerned that the beach will disappear if something isn’t done to rectify it.
She added that the beach has dropped in some places so noticeably that steps down to it near the lighthouse now don’t reach sand level.
Cllr Linehan-Foley told a meeting of the East Cork municipal district council that the issue was so serious she wants the council’s Coastal Management Unit to immediately address it.
Dave Clarke, the council’s senior engineer in the region, said the groynes were “largely gone or completely gone”.
Council officials said that 20 years ago a proposal had been made to put five new rock groynes along the beach, which never happened.
“It’s coastal erosion/coastal protection matter. It’s something for them to look at,” Mr Clarke said, and he acknowledged sand levels had fallen in places.
Municipal district officer Joe McCarthy said the coastal unit should also be asked to review a report that was undertaken on the beach by Malachy Walsh and Partners in 2008.
“We need experts to look at this as soon as possible. In Holland they use boulders.
“I know it’s going to cost massive money to fix, but we can’t afford to lose our beach,” Cllr Linehan-Foley said.