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IrelandGlobal warming expert warns Ireland is 'shrinking' due to erosion from climate change

10:40  20 may  2019
10:40  20 may  2019 Source:   msn.com

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A global warming expert has warned “ Ireland is shrinking ” as parts of the country are being eroded away every year. Coastal decay caused by more frequent storms and rising water levels is putting homes and roads at risk. Coastwatch chief Karin Dubsky explained eastern parts of the country were

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Global warming expert warns Ireland is 'shrinking' due to erosion from climate change © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Inis Mor Cliff Face, Aran Islands

A global warming expert has warned “Ireland is shrinking” as parts of the country are being eroded away every year.

Coastal decay caused by more frequent storms and rising water levels is putting homes and roads at risk.

Coastwatch chief Karin Dubsky explained eastern parts of the country were at higher risk.

She said: “In some areas we have had massive losses of dunes like around the Kilmichael dunes and Brittas bay dunes.”

As well as the natural landscape homes in coastal and water bank areas are now falling victim to the changes.

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Ms Dubsky said far more homes and farms would “absolutely” be put at risk as the situation worsened.

And some prospective landowners are not aware of the risk, others people want the seaside home and “take the risk”.

Global warming expert warns Ireland is 'shrinking' due to erosion from climate change © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Brittas Bay (Irish: Cuan an Bhriotáis) in County Wicklow, Ireland, a 4 km stretch of sandy beach on the Irish Sea coast, famous tourist resort

Though many people living inland may not be aware of the severity of the erosion, those in coastal areas are already reporting problems.

Ms Dubsky said: “In our coastal survey were asked people what do you see as the biggest threat to the coast and in Ireland the biggest threat from feedback is erosion.

“That has increased really significantly over the last few years.

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“So people are seeing that land being lost and they are saying erosion – we really feel erosion”.

The Aran Islands off the Galway coast have already experienced the damaging effects.

Chairman of the Aran Islands Energy co-operative Dara O Maoildhia said locals are worried about the changing landscape.

Three years ago intense coastal erosion severely damaged main roads on Inishmore island.

Mr O Maoildhia said: “There are two parallel roads that are the two main roads of the islands running from east to west.

“The lower one is sea level and it was destroyed in probably three different places with huge chunks bitten out of it. It never happened before.

“I’ve lived on the island for 35 years never happened before in my experience and probably never before that either.”

The road is the main thoroughfare for tourist buses, bikes and horses.

Global warming expert warns Ireland is 'shrinking' due to erosion from climate change © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Just six TDs were in the Dail for a climate change vote

While it reopened in time for the busy summer season it left islanders worried.

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Mr O Maoildhia added: “Some fields were inundated and filled with rocks and stones and are unusable from now as well.

“A lot of stone walls were knocked down the borders around fields were all knocked down some of them have been replaced some haven’t.

“There’s one or two houses at that level that are now vulnerable.

“One of them got flooded last time and they have built a huge stone wall as a barrier for the next time that happens. People are worried.”

Mr O Maoildhia revealed he had also seen higher sea levels than ever before around the island’s harbours.

He said: “I have seen twice in the last year where the tide was so high it was up level to the pier and the winds were so strong that the boat couldn’t come in and tie up.”

Mr O Maoildhia said passengers were getting sea sick but the boat couldn’t be brought ashore as “the pier was buried under the water”.

He added he was involved in the building of the pier and that sea

level rise had been factored into its construction. Mr O Maoildhia said: “When we were planning it we made sure they put it a metre higher than the previous pier to allow for global warming”.

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Similar to other parts of the country the islands also suffered during last summer’s drought.

Fields turned yellow forcing local farmers to import food.

Mr O Maoildhia said: “The farmers who were bringing in feed for their cows and their horses during the winter now had to bring it in again during the summer.

“It’s much more expensive. Buying it in the first place and then bringing it in”.

Despite the difficulties islanders are making efforts to be “proactive rather than reactive” in terms of combating climate change.

They have introduced electric cars, improved insulation to cut down on heating costs, put solar panels on roofs and introduced heat pumps to replace oil burners. Their next initiative is to introduce wind turbines across the islands to ensure they generate all of their own electricity.

Mr O Maoildhia said: “It’s a community project from beginning to end. We have huge support for it.”

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