Senior county council engineers say they cannot understand why the Office of Public Works does not consider it appropriate to carry out flood prevention works in a town on the Cork/Limerick border.
The OPW has refused to put a flood plan together for Charleville, saying “it wouldn’t be cost-effective”.
County engineer David Keane said the council was not happy with that decision and was urging to OPW to revisit it.
Despite being in Co Cork, the town was examined for potential flood defences by the OPW under the terms of the Shannon CFRAMs study, along with the nearby village of Milford.
Councillor Ian Doyle (FF), who lives in Charleville, said the OPW’s decision was highly questionable considering the impact of the recent heavy rainfall in the catchment area of the Glen river which flows through the town.
“As a consequence of lack of maintenance of the Glen river’s course over the last number of years and the structural development that has taken place — namely housing estates such as Lios na Ri, Meadowvale, the residential area of the Glen, and extensions to both schools — we witnessed considerable flooding unseen in previous years which could have been avoided with appropriate upkeep of the river,” he said.
“The Cork County Council has written to the OPW and Jacobs contractor stating that the council does not support the exclusion of Charleville from the Shannon CFRAMs project and they query the cost benefit analysis that led to this decision.”
He said any lack of flood prevention work at this stage will hinder further development essential for the growth of Charleville and its hinterland.
Councillor Noel McCarthy (FG) asked officials what householders could do to prevent rainwater deluging their houses from farmland.
“There are cases where water is coming off fields. Landowners have responsibility in this,” he said. “It’s prevention we now need to look at now.”
Mr Keane said the level of land saturation was so great that there was nearly a 100% run-off of rain water on the night of Dec 29 and 30.
“We will look at areas with the OPW to see if there are any schemes we can do to alleviate this,” he said.
Meanwhile, councillors voted to write to the local government TDs and all Ireland South MEPs demanding they lobby the EU to overturn directives allegedly being used by IFI to stop river dredging.
Mr Keane said the Mallow and Fermoy flood relief schemes had been very successful. The engineer said that a service level agreement (SLA) still has to be thrashed out with OPW for erecting barriers into future in both towns.
“When I saw level of water I knew areas of Fermoy would have been inundated without the barriers,” said Mr McCarthy.
He criticised insurance companies for their failure to restart providing flood cover for locals, pointing out that without it householders and businesses were unable to get loans.
Councillor Kay Dawson agreed saying “insurance companies were talking out of both sides of their mouths” regarding their claims that they are providing cover.
A recent survey carried out by the Irish Examiner in both towns found hardly any of the businesses previously affected were re-insured.
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