Ireland will miss European Commission deadline on flooding plans

Ireland will miss the deadline for lodging plans with the European Commission on how to best prevent flooding and manage areas when they are flooded.

The OPW, responsible for drawing them up, said they will be finalised in 2016, but they should have been completed in December 2015 and submitted by March.

Apart from preventing the devastating effects of floods, the state will not qualify for EU aid for the clean up if EU disaster risk prevention law is not in force.

Independent MEP Marian Harkin said successive governments blamed EU Directives to avoid acting on floods.

“For years we have had different agencies looking over their shoulders at one another, and at the EU Commission, while Irish politicians looked the other way.

“Now one after another these same politicians point the finger at Brussels. Yet ironically it is EU legislation such as the Floods Directive that has pushed the Irish Government to produce flood maps and flood risk management plans.

“Ireland was due to complete these plans to manage flood risks by the end of 2015 and submit them by March. The real question is where are these plans and what action is being taken to implement them?”

Independent MEP Marian Harkin
Independent MEP Marian Harkin

The OPW said draft flood maps have been produced, options to manage flood risk were being assessed and they are finalising pilot studies for the Lee, Dodder and Fingal-East Meath.

Draft plans for other areas, including the Shannon, will be available for public consultation this summer and finalised later in the year.

“The OPW liaises closely with the EU Commission in relation to ongoing reporting on progress in relation to the CFRAM (Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management) Programme,” an OPW statement said.

The EU has made €5billion available for risk prevention, including €700million for Ireland over the next four years. One euro invested in prevention saves up to seven euro in disaster damage, they said.

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