The High Court has ordered a couple to dispose of a defensive sea wall barrage built mainly on the foreshore of the State and had access to the public along the beach.
The barrage was built in 1990 to protect a house on land at Harindy Blind, Back, Union Hall in Co Cork.
It was built by the previous owner of the property bought by the French couple, Pierre and Catherine Damiens in 2000 as a holiday home.
Ms Justice, Mary Faherty, ruled that reasonable and safe access to the beach for the public required to remove the barrage on the available evidence.
The court heard that Harper Blind was a permanent home of Damiens in 2006, and after two years earlier he decided to build a seafront swimming pool to the front of the property.
In March 2006, the Environment Department received a white complaint about the swimming pool. Following an inspection, it was found that the barrage was built mainly under the high water mark – or the State foreshore – and any such structure needs a license.
It was recommended that it should be eradicated as if the sea pool, partly built on the Foreshore of the State.
The department argued that the barrage prevented public access to the beach and was "an attempt to privatize the foreshore".
Although it provided some protection to Damiens's property, it was not designed, built, located or directed appropriately and there were concerns about its effectiveness if there was a significant storm.
Damiens argued, through their expert, that he had already resisted the time test, which has been in existence for 28 years.
Their work did not prevent access to the beach and many people had been used without any complaints.
There were assaults on their property that they turned blind eyes. Although they have argued in the first place that the barrage and pool within their boundary, they would say they were "unfortunate victims of history," said Ms Justice Faherty.
Later a portion of the barrage was accepted on State property.
In relation to the seawater swimming pool, they were financed by a bank loan of € 15,000 in 2006, they had spent another € 15,000 in 2014 to ensure that they did not intrude to State property.
The court heard that when the property was bought, it was marketed in the auctioneer's leaflet so that he had a "private pier" in the direction of the barrage.
Damiens expert said he did not believe the beach was of high amenity value and that the rocky peak and existing land would make it dangerous for people walking on the beach. The department's expert strongly disagreed.