Photo courtesy Al Mackinnon

This just in from the Save Doolin Campaigners Please help the council make the right decision.

***Dec 2010 UPDATE****

HOW CAN YOU HELP??? You can call the county councillors, whose details are listed on informing them that the planners report contains a deliberate lie to mislead them and your dissatisfaction with the council on this matter. You need to do this prior to Monday 13 Dec as that is when they are having their meeting.

Please read details below:-

Prior to the Aug 15 cutoff for submissions, from May 2010 onwards, we repeatedly requested meetings with Clare CoCo to discuss the pier as their Part 8 plans didn’t even acknowledge the area as a surf spot. These requests were denied as the county engineer, Tom Kiernan was off on 5 weeks holidays (conveniently right up until the Aug 15 cutoff).

After the Aug 15 cutoff we made repeated attempts to setup a meeting with the coco and engineers.

Finally, as a result of submissions by ourselves and others on this part 8, along with insistence from Failte Ireland, the Fisheries board, Tom Killeen TD, Clare coco finally agreed to engage with us to model the new piers effect on the waves.

On Nov 11th, Clare county council met with us. Tom Kiernan (Clare coco) and Malachy Walsh (the engineering firm tasked with the initial part 8) presented to us their wave modelling findings. The modelling was plainly and obviously incorrect.

It showed the waves breaking in the wrong area altogether and is completely missing crucial bathymetry (underwater topography) for the area immediately around Crab Island (ie- the surfing zone).

It was demonstrated to them via photographs and footage of waves breaking on the reefs that their modelling was wrong and inaccurate and therefore little or no use in determining if the new pier would damage the surfing waves . However, even their inaccurate and incorrect modelling of 1m swell indicated some disturbance (reflection of 20cm waves from a 1m swell back into the surf zone) that would destroy the surf spot.

They accepted this.

Other problems with their modelling included the fact that they only modelled swell conditions of 1m in height and from one direction- SW. Swells that are surfed range from 1m to 5m and from a broad range of directions from SW to NW. This was pointed out to them and they stated that they would perform additional modelling.

This never happened.

(Performing additional modelling for different swell heights and directions is as simple as plugging figures into their software. Once the bathymetry data and land\pier are configured into the modelling system, the hard work is done. They had already done this to achieve their 1m wave modelling. To measure other swell heights & directions is just entering a few more numbers. They did not provide us with this because it is likely that this data irrefutably demonstrated damage to the surfing waves.)

They confirmed that nobody involved with this project, either Clare coco, Malachy Walsh or the people performing the modelling had EVER visited the site during swell conditions to compare their models with the actual situation. This is despite repeated offers from surfers to assist them in this matter.

That is the wave modelling story…

The planning report omits to mention ANY NON STATUTORY BODIES WHO MADE SUBMISSIONS- like they /we never existed, except for the last paragraph inspection (iv) saying that 72 submissions were received.

It is recommending a completely different pier and at a different location, albeit apparently to “address the concerns expressed " by 72 anonymous submissions!! This is a different proposal and should be re-advertised and the process started again.

The Water safety Officers report 15thJuly was BEFORE our submissions were lodged, the water safety officer probably had no clue of the problem of surfers needing to cross the ferry paths to access the waves.

They ignored in the west coast surf club\irish surfing association submission other serious problems with their part 8 planning, namely (i) that part 8’s cannot be used on the foreshore as per section 226(1) of the planning and development act without an Bord Pleanala approval (ii) is not in keeping with the North Clare local area development plan (iii) requires an Environmental Impact Assessment due to its proximity to a number of protected sites.

The planner – Gordon Daly – has completed his planners report, and it is being voted on by Clare county councillors next Monday 13 Dec. I’ve attached this planners report in a PDF. The relevant parts are around pages 115 -123.

Despite repeated requests of the council to provide us with the date of the council meeting, and what they would be proposing in the planners report, they never provided us with either. We managed to get a copy of this report through other channels.

As it stands, the planners report will be telling the county councillors a lie – that the surfers concerns are no longer an issue. This is a deliberate lie by the planner and will affect how the councillors vote on this issue.