A community destroyed by flooding has slammed an OPW report which states the area is not at risk of flooding.

The report’s extraordinary findings, compiled by the Office of Public Works, were described as “ludicrous” by Castleconnell resident Brendan Murphy, whose home was destroyed by winter floods in 2009.

Mr Murphy said he was “horrified” when he read the report: “It’s very strange. It’s ludicrous.”

The report states: “There is no flood risk to any properties in the area. Therefore, no optioneering has been carried out. To protect the cluster of houses in the south of the town would require an embankment approximately 95m long and 1m high, costing at least €42,000. As there are insufficient present value damages to promote this measure in the area of further assessment, this was not considered any further.”

Mr Murphy, who was evacuated to a hotel for four months after his home was swamped in 2009, said: “I was horrified, I just couldn’t believe it.”

More than 100 angry locals, including Mr Murphy, vented their fury over the report’s findings, at a public consultation meeting on Thursday night at the Castleoaks Hotel, which was led by representatives from the OPW.

Local Fine Gael senator Kieran O’Donnell, who also attended Thursday night’s meeting, said: “It’s a joke.” According to Mr O’Donnell, the OPW report was compiled using incorrect data recorded before the town was flooded: “It is ludicrous, and it defies logic.”

The draft report for the area is one of hundreds being compiled for the National Flood Risk Management Plan.

Mr Murphy, 62, said that he spent “thousands” on repairing the damage to his home: “I’m living about a hundred yards from the river. The drains can’t cope and so the floodwater backs up to the estate and then we start to flood. We can see it coming. We told the OPW their report was flawed. We told them we need permanent defences, sooner rather than later.”

Castleconnell, along with neighbouring village Montpelier, was again under siege from the river last December.

“For up to five weeks the pumps were protecting my home last Christmas. I didn’t know if I would even bother putting up a Christmas tree,” said Mr Murphy.

“We were told the report was produced using modelling techniques, and we kept pointing out to the [OPW] that there was something wrong with their modelling data.”

During the highly charged meeting, representatives from the OPW heard first-hand accounts from flood victims how their homes were swamped in the 2009 deluge, and how the area hung in the balance during last year’s storms.


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