Cahirciveen locals raise concerns as lack of funds delays drainage works

Regular flooding in parts of a south Kerry town is causing residents acute anxiety and lack of sleep, at times, it has been claimed.

Cahirciveen locals raise concerns as lack of funds delays drainage works

A lack of funds is leading to long delays in resolving flooding issues at Valentia Road in Caherciveen.

Senior Kerry County Council official John Flynn conceded the matter was complex, as residents raised concerns about insurance.

Residents’ spokesman Christy O’Connell pointed out that people had to be rescued from their homes by the emergency services on several occasions which led to many locals being unable to source home insurance.

“In such circumstances, our properties are now seriously devalued,’’ he said.

Mr O’Connell — on a deputation of residents to a meeting of the South and West Kerry Municipal Authority — told councillors problems arise when a tributary of the River Fertha overflows.

Land drainage and development work upstream, since the 1960s, allied to a big increase in rainfall, now posed a major problem for residents, he stated.

“Our hopes have been raised temporarily on a couple of occasions in recent years, with the promise from Kerry County Council they would deal with the issue once funding becomes available,’’ Mr O’Connell said.

Residents, he said, were now forced to accept the council did not have the finance to do the work.

Council senior executive engineer Padraig Teahan said the OPW was the government agency responsible for flood-risk management. He said the council would make a submission to the OPW to at least conduct a study of the area with a view to having the work done.

The authority’s manager, John Flynn, told the deputation it was a complex problem for which there was no simple solution.

But Independent TD Tom Fleming said, at the weekend, the council should also consider engaging with the National Roads Authority (NRA) on any proposed works. He accepted funding had not been allocated to the council for Valentia Road but said the Iveragh Peninsula town, on the Ring of Kerry, was one of the country’s major tourist routes.

“It’s not a wintertime flood problem,” he said, “in the heart of summer, a cloudburst combined with mountain streams can bring flash floods and shut off the road.

“There has been considerable development over the years in the town and, historically, drainage relief works were not upgraded adequately to relieve heavy rain waters from elevated ground.”

Mr Fleming urged the county council to press the NRA to assist with any flood relief plans. “The emergency services, gardaí and the fire brigade, have regularly been forced to assist residents and motorists in times of crisis.

“Current public drainage measures just can’t cope with heavy rainfalls or a flash flood. I believe the NRA has to be part of the solution along with the OPW and the county council.

Meanwhile, Independentcouncillor Johnny Healy-Rae has claimed roads in south Kerry are being ‘’washed away’’ because of an insufficient drainage scheme. The council acknowledged not enough is being provided for proper maintenance, especially for the minor road network.

‘’For example, there was only €239,000 for drainage works on 1,695km of local road in the South and West Kerry Municipal District last and it is not anticipated that this will increase this year,’’ a spokesman said.

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