Skerries vulnerable to consequences of climate change

9th February, 2013

Joe O'Brien at collapsed Skerries sea wall Skerries is a town that is particularly vulnerable to the implications of Climate Change. I recently received a response from Fingal County Council in relation to the recent collapse of the sea wall in Skerries on the Balbriggan Road. It is clear from the Council’s response that the reason for the wall collapse was the storm weather and high tides. Both of these are events we can expect to see more of with continued global warming. While Skerries is a vibrant town we would be foolish to be complacent about its long term future. Many of the routes in and out of Skerries are prone to and vulnerable to flooding – obviously the Balbriggan Road to a lesser extent the Rush Road but also crucial interlinking roads at Holmpatrick and the railway tunnel roundabout which have all flooded in the recent past.
I welcome the Council’s plans to deal with the regular flooding of the Mill stream but any measures taken must look at the very long term view. Temporary stop gap measures are not adequate. The implications of climate change may not hit us in one big bang like one sees in Hollywood movies it is more likely that the implications will eat away at community infrastructure and Council budgets and insurance premiums will rise over time to make some areas too expensive to maintain as habitable. Some businesses in Skerries have been significantly impacted on by flooding and in the longer term there is a risk to the business heart of Skerries which is all quite low lying.
Local Authorities are at the forefront of mitigating against the effects of climate change. However the lack of a Green voice on the Council over the last few years has lead to such issues dropping down and off the Council’s agenda. It is important for people to realise that we can all play a role in tackling climate change in a practical and everyday way but we also need Green leadership at local government level. I hope to address that next year when I will run for local election.

On May 23rd this year the Fingal Green Party will welcome joint Nobel Prize winner Professor John Sweeney to Skerries. Professor Sweeney was one of many international climatologists involved in the seminal international report ‘Climate Change 2007’. He will speak on climate change at a public meeting in the Skerries Sailing Club.