Politician lodges plan for houses despite flood risk

A COUNCILLOR forced to use a dinghy to access his flooded home has lodged plans for five detached houses close to his Ennis residence.

Last year Fine Gael’s Cllr Tony Mulqueen was photographed paddling a dinghy to his family’s home at Cappahard on the Tulla Road after water levels in the town reached over 2.5 feet. In spite of flood protection measures and sandbagging his house was damaged.

Mr Mulqueen has lodged an application to secure outline planning permission for the five detached houses adjacent to his home in a residential area.

Planning documents lodged with Ennis Town Council confirm the site is prone to flooding.

A consultant acting for the councillor said the most extreme flooding at the site was December 2009, but that the highest flood level was unknown.

Cllr Brian Meaney (Green) claimed the plans were “at odds with Department of the Environment’s guidelines on building in areas prone to flooding and the effect such a plan would have on nearby housing”.

Mr Meaney said: “The council will have regard to this in evaluating the application. Any person can apply for whatever they want and it is up to planners to assess the application on planning criteria.”

Mr Meaney noted “there has already been inappropriate housing development around Ennis with the result today that you have people living in homes that are at risk to flooding”.

A decision is due on the application next month.

Mr Mulqueen has declined to comment on the planning application.

However, in an interview last year, he said: “I think planners should use local knowledge when it comes to determining whether or not a new housing scheme should be built on a flood plain. One of the problems is that the water is coming into the River Fergus faster and it doesn’t have anywhere to go.”

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