Standing orders were suspended at a Cork County Council meeting yesterday after Cllr Adrian Healy (FG) said it was unacceptable that a planned €12m flood alleviation scheme for Skibbereen was running several months behind schedule.
He said that last Thursday night/Friday morning, the town experienced nearly 60mm of rain and, as a result, 20 households and businesses were flooded, two of which were “very seriously affected”.
He said the initial design scheme was six months behind schedule when it was finally presented by Brian Hayes, the minister with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, last summer.
Mr Healy said other parts of the project had also since fallen behind schedule.
He said that on numerous occasions over the years the town had suffered from flooding and many people couldn’t get insurance as a result. “This (delay) is causing untold anxiety in the town, especially every time it rains. Another flooding event would be a catastrophe,” he said. “We need confirmation now as to when the work will start.”
Cllr Brendan Leahy (Lab) said council workers, Civil Defence members, and volunteers had done a tremendous job last week ensuring as many vulnerable buildings as possible were protected.
County engineer David Keane said he understood that being flooded on a number of occasions was “very traumatic and terrifying for people”.
“The scheme hasn’t slipped back (on its timeline) because people have kept their eye off the ball. It’s happened in an effort to get things right,” he said.
Mr Keane said it was expected that work on the project would start late next summer and be completed by late summer 2016.
Meanwhile, Cllr Dermot Sheehan (FG) said a considerable amount of damage had been done to a number of roads in the West Cork region due to last week’s deluge.
He was told by county manager Martin Riordan that no additional money was forthcoming from Government for repairs and that the council’s own budget for roads “was very tight”.