Dáil debates

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Topical Issue Debate

Flood Prevention Measures

6:15 pm

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I welcome the Minister of State and I also welcome this opportunity to contribute. I listened to "It says In The Papers" on RTE radio this morning, during which reference was made to a photograph that appeared in a number of newspapers of Army personnel and local people trying to hold back rapidly rising waters in Ballinasloe in County Galway. Great credit is due to the Army personnel, the local people and the emergency services. There was also a quote from a senior local authority engineer, who stated that things might get worse before they got better. If there is information on this it should be put out there because, as my colleagues have said, there was an early warning weather forecast before the heavy rain of the weekend and we should let people know the situation if the information is there.

It is very important that sandbags are provided as a first step. They were available from certain places in Galway, such as the Loughrea depot, and this is important. I visited a number of premises in recent days and it was obvious that it is very difficult to remove water. This means it is important to put preventative measures in place. It is particularly sad when one notices that Ballinasloe also has a precautionary boil water notice because of untreated water getting into the plant when the River Suck began to rise at the weekend. More than 10,300 customers in the Ballinasloe area were affected, as were residents served by the Kiltormer and Clontuskert group water schemes. I hope this can be resolved. Will the Minister of State explain whether it is true that there was an underspend? A figure of €14.5 million was mentioned as an underspend in 2015.

I have been campaigning for approximately 40 years to deal with flood relief on the Dunkellin river. There have been many false dawns and much nonsense has been spoken over the past 40 years, but will the Minister of State deal with the Dunkellin scheme, which has been with An Bord Pleanála since October 2014, and get a decision, hopefully favourable, on it? It would mean a lot of progress for the people of south Galway, and the village of Craughwell would not be cut off as it is at present. It is on the R446 Dublin Road between Loughrea and Oranmore.


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