Dáil debates

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Topical Issue Debate

Flood Prevention Measures

6:05 pm

Photo of Pat BreenPat Breen (Clare, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

Like other counties, County Clare suffered from extensive flooding on Saturday as a result of Storm Desmond which caused widespread road closures in the county and submerged thousands of acres under water. Houses were cut off and a number of houses were evacuated. Businesses were also affected.

It is anticipated that in the coming days more houses, property and roads could be damaged along the lower banks of the River Shannon in the Springfield area of Clonlara in south-east Clare as the ESB is set to increase the release of water from the Parteen Weir. I spoke to residents and householders affected by flooding and one issue arises constantly, namely, the maintenance and cleaning of our smaller rivers. Many have not been maintained or dredged for more than 20 years. Over time the build-up of silt and falling trees is holding back the water and increasing the risk of localised flooding.

I ask the Minister of State, the OPW and local authorities to carry out an assessment of rivers in my county, including rivers such as Fergus, O'Garney and Doonbeg, and to introduce a programme of river dredging and maintenance through the provision of a multi-annual funding programme. It could solve some of the problems and prevent further flooding.

I commend the OPW on the flood relief work it has done in Ennis, where two areas have been completed and, thankfully, we did not have the same type of flooding we had in 2009. However, problems remain on the Limerick Road side. St. Flannan's College was closed over the weekend. Many residents in the area were very worried in case they experienced the same type of flooding they did in 2009.

I refer to the Ennis south flood relief project. I understand some technical issues need to be ironed out, and I ask the Minister of State to finalise the outstanding issues in order that the scheme can commence in the new year. There are other areas of concern throughout the county, but I wanted to raise two or three issues today.


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