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A view of some of the flooding and storm damage caused at Seafield, Quilty last year. Photograph by John Kelly.

Quilty’s problems ‘not sexy enough’ for help

“Unfortunately, Quilty does not have a cute, sexy and/or sympathy-generating situation.” That’s according to Nancy Creech, co-secretary of the Quilty Action Group, who has written to local TDs, county councillors and the Office of Public Works (OPW), claiming that Quilty is being ignored when it comes to addressing erosion issues in the West Clare village.

“The damage in Quilty and Quilty West happened in the second and third storms and missed out on the sensationalism of the media coverage.

“I have been watching and listening with interest to the coastal erosion media coverage driven by our neighbours in Clohanincy and I believe that Quilty village is, once again, being overlooked,” Ms Creech’s letter claimed.

“Like the residents in Clohanincy, we are attempting to keep safe our property and our village. It has been six months since the winter storms devastated the Quilty coastline and, to date, Clare County Council have done nothing with regards to putting in place a plan to repair the storm damage incurred and to protect our beautiful coastal community from further erosion.

“In fact, it is my understanding that Quilty is not even on Clare County Council’s list of works submitted for OPW funding,” the letter added.

“What Clare County Council did do was send to us an OPW application form, which we were neither qualified to complete nor was it relevant to our situation.

“I am still amazed at the gullibility of neighbouring communities who raised funds through coffee mornings and private donations, in order to hire private engineers. And, of course, these reports are not, and never would be, acceptable by the OPW,” the letter stated.

In a statement responding to the letter, Clare County Council said they were requested by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government to submit a funding application for a programme of repair works, in respect of public infrastructure and not in relation to private lands.

However, in her letter, Ms Creech said that, in 1998, Clare County Council commissioned Malachy Walsh and Partners to prepare an in-depth study of the coastal erosion at Quilty.

“Although it is difficult to believe that this report is not available at the Clare County Council offices, I made a photocopy of my personal copy and delivered same to Clare County Council’s senior engineer, Tom Tiernan, for his reference.

“After intensive lobbying, in 1999, 2000 and 2001, Clare County Council spent £1.073m on coastal protection measures in Quilty village, Quilty West and Seafield.

“However, over the past 13 years, this infrastructure has been compromised by weathering and storms. We do not understand why the Government has not monitored or maintained such an expensive infrastructure, as this was an accepted recommendation of the report (paid for by the council).

“Nor have they monitored the effect of the infrastructure on the properties between the rock armour placement,” the letter claimed.

“Rather than a proactive mentality, it seems to me that the most effective way to get the Government to react to a situation is to publicise and shame them into action.

“Until one of our homes or outbuildings collapses into the sea (which is imminent), it appears that nothing will be done to help save our coastline.

“I am an unpaid volunteer and believe me when I say that would like to spend my time in more creative and productive ways than writing endless emails, making endless phone calls, having endless meetings all resulting in being fobbed off by Government officials,” Nancy Creech concluded.

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