KILKEE businessman Johnny Redmond has reacted angrily to Councillor Gabriel Keating’s suggestion that business in the town remains unaffected by the yet to be repaired damage to the seawall and parts of the Strand Line. Kilkee was extensively damaged during Storm Darwin last February.
The road in front of his business is remains impassable.
“The Strand Bistro and Restaurant is currently located at what I would call Ground Zero. Left and right of me the roads are completely closed. I have absolutely no passing trade or won’t have passing trade for the whole summer,” Johnny Redmond said on Wednesday.
However Councillor Keating said that he feels the damage in Kilkee is not affecting business.
“It’s not going to affect the business of Kilkee in my book or the people of Kilkee,” he maintained.
“Gabriel Keating has some cheek to say that it’s not going to affect business in the town. How would he know about the impact of this on business in Kilkee?” Johnny Redmond queried.
“The council have consultants who have assessed the damage. The next step now will be to put it out to contract. That won’t happen for a while because there are other sections that have to be done. This is a major job in front of the Strand Hotel. It’s not a question of dumping a few lorries of concrete into it. If we can do something in the interim to make it accessible to pedestrians, that would be great,” Councillor Keating said of the badly damaged section of the Strand Line.
Earlier this week Kilkee Chamber of Commerce issued a statement, which suggested that a state of emergency should have been declared in the town.
“We are very disappointed that Clare County Council failed to declare this an emergency situation given the substantial damage to the seawall and the seafront in Kilkee. Already it is a liability to residents and visitors alike. With the busy summer season almost upon us, Kilkee Chamber of Commerce fear the negative impact it will have on business in the area and the safety of visitors. With the recent publicity and launch of the Wild Atlantic Way and its route travelling directly through Kilkee, we feel that any further delay in repairing the promenade, will have serious implications to the tourism offering,” the statement read.
Kilkee Chamber is also fearful that somebody will injure themselves in the storm damaged resort.
“Kilkee Chamber cannot stress in strong enough terms the safety concerns we have regarding the lack of progress in resolving the damage. Will it take serious injury or a death before any action is taken?
We have information supplied to us that in the event of an emergency being declared, work could commence immediately,” the business group claimed.
Meanwhile Clare County Council has acknowledged that repair work in front of the Strand bistro and restaurant, will not be finished until August.
“It is unlikely the works on the section of the wall near the Strand will be completed before the end of August. However, works on the other sections of the wall, between the Strand Line and the West End, should be completed in time for peak season before the end of June,” Clare County Council’s statement read.
“Movement of the seawall was stopped a few weeks ago after large concrete units were place at its base on the beach. Ground investigation works are taking place this week to determine the scale of the required works and the timescale involved. Clare County Council is conscious that tourism plays a central role in the local Kilkee economy and is in ongoing contact with elected members and representatives of the business community in Kilkee,” the statement added.
Kilkee is located on the recently launched Wild Atlantic Way and a sign has been erected beside a hole in the road on the Strand Line.