Flood victims will have to wait at least five years for flood protection

Flood victims in some parts of the country will have to wait at least another five years for flood protection, the Chairperson of the body tasked by government to plan against future flooding has said, writes David Raleigh.

Flood victims will have to wait at least five years for flood protection

Flood victims in some parts of the country will have to wait at least another five years for flood protection, the Chairperson of the body tasked by government to plan against future flooding has said, writes David Raleigh.

Speaking Friday, at a public open day in Limerick, organised by the Shannon Flood Risk State Agency Co-Ordination Working Group, the Chair of the Office of Public Works, Claire McGrath, added it had identified the need for 300 defence schemes.

The government has earmarked €430m for the rollout of flood defence schemes over the next five years.

However, Ms McGrath said it will take more funding and many more years to develop the 300 schemes now identified.

"At the moment with the €430m - that's onto a five year (plan), but in terms of doing 300 (schemes), you're talking further out again," she added.

The OPW heads up the working group, which includes the ESB, Waterways Ireland, Inland Fisheries Ireland, and other bodies which manage the River Shannon.

However, all of the stakeholders have agreed rolling out a national plan is "complex".

The delays are due to a number of areas that include, public consultation; design and planning; engagement between the managers of the River Shannon; and, engagement with landowners whose lands will be used to develop solutions.

Ms McGrath said: "We are going in and interfering on private property when we engage (with landowners)".

"It's a complicated process; There's no doubt about it," she said.

"Different people will have different views," she added.

Asked if it would take years to implement a national plan, Ms McGrath added: "It will".

This will mean hundreds of homeowners around the country will again face the threat of further flooding this coming winter and for many more to come.

It will also mean the government will be asked to fork out more money to help repair households that will ultimately be destroyed again in the event of more flooding.

As well as been subject to a design and planning phase, before they are then presented for public consultation, each flood scheme faces further scrutiny, in terms of whether or not the scheme poses any threat to areas previously safe from flooding.

Tom Tierney, a senior planner with Clare County Council, explained: "One of the things you have to do, in relation to any flood relief proposal, is to examine what implications it might have elsewhere - in other words, you don't want to end up resolving one problem and causing another."

"It is complex, and it is far too early at this stage to start making assertive comments in relation to one solution or another," he said.

Ms McGrath said some schemes, deemed "economically viable", have been, or, are currently being fast tracked.

These include, Ennis (Clare); Skibbereen, Bandon, Mallow (Cork); Kings Island (Limerick); Clonmel (Tipperary); Tullamore (Offaly).

Ms McGrath added that the priority was to build defences "around urban city villages where you have communities".

She said a delay of two years had already been saved as the identified schemes have reached design phase, subject to final approval.

The plans will make up the Shannon Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Plan, which is expected to be published at the end of June.

More in this section

IE_180_logo
Price info

Subscribe to unlock unlimited digital access.
Cancel anytime.

Terms and conditions apply

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.