Councillor says OPW report failed to take account of floods

The Office of Public Works (OPW) may have to revisit the drawing board on a proposed flood-prevention scheme, after reportedly failing to factor in flooding incidents during a cost-benefit analysis.

Councillor says OPW report failed to take account of floods

The analysis relating to the Crookstown Flood Relief Programme was conducted by the OPW in the mid-Cork village in 2016. However, serious flooding there during Storm Desmond the previous year was apparently not considered.

Sinn Féin councillor Des O’Grady, at a meeting of the Macroom/Blarney Municipal District Council yesterday, described the likely oversight as “a shambles”.

He labelled it an “an extraordinary omission”, pointing out there had been four serious flooding incidents in the village in recent years.

Mr O’Grady pointed out the rules had also changed since flooding occurred a few months ago in Donegal, noting householders or businesses will be given €250,000 compensation to relocate.

The original flood relief scheme drawn up for Crookstown was estimated at €1.57m and, due to the OPW’s omission, it was deemed not cost-effective to carry it out.

Mr O’Grady noted that, in the last flood in the village, 11 premises had been badly affected and if each was to receive relocation costs it would cost considerably more than any flood prevention works.

He said local homeowners and businesspeople had suffered repeatedly through the incidents and now cannot secure property and damage insurance, stating: “They await the next serious flood in the area with trepidation.

Mr O’Grady added: “The third and most serious flooding incident up to then happened in June 2012 when the River Bride and River Brouen burst their banks following torrential rain.”

Plans were initially drawn up for flood-prevention works a couple of years ago, but, following the cost-benefit analysis report completed last year, they were shelved.

Mr O’Grady said OPW’s cost-benefit analysis of 2016 took no account of the further serious flooding in Crookstown in December 2015 and January 2016 when the busy R585 road through the village was closed by flooding.

Fianna Fáil councillor Gobnait Moynihan said the OPW analysis was “not being good enough” for householders and businesses.

She said the R585 was one of the busiest arteries leading into West Cork and that was another reason that the project should go ahead.

Fine Gael councillor Michael Crees said the hold-up was an absolute disgrace.

“People there have no insurance,” he said. “Something must be done to protect them.”

In the interim, he said, there should at least be some dredging works carried out on the two local rivers.

“That might help, at least,” he said. “The same thing was done in both Ballingeary and Inchigeelagh and there has been no repeat of flooding there since.”

Council officials said they had written to the OPW outlining the concerns about the cost-benefit analysis issue and that the OPW had told them they would issue a reply, probably sometime early in the new year.

Mr O’Grady said the response did not address concerns, especially as the criteria had changed.

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