Dáil debates

Thursday, 8 February 2024

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions

Flood Relief Schemes

11:10 am

Photo of Paschal DonohoePaschal Donohoe (Dublin Central, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I propose to take Questions Nos. 90 and 107 together.

I refer to the previous updates on this matter I have given to the House regarding the consent process for the Crossmolina flood relief scheme, the most recent of which was on 30 January. As the Minister for public expenditure, I am the consenting authority for flood relief schemes submitted under the Arterial Drainage Act 1945 and the Arterial Drainage (Amendment) Act 1995. In accordance with the European Union regulations of 2019, the OPW has sought consent for the Crossmolina flood relief scheme. Section 7E(4) of those EU regulations of 2019 mandates that there is access to sufficient expertise to examine an environmental impact assessment report. In accordance with these requirements, my Department has appointed an independent environmental consultant to carry out all necessary environmental assessments as required by these directives and to review the submissions received during the periods of public consultation.

An initial period of public consultation was held between December 2020 and January 2021 regarding the proposed flood relief scheme, after which my Department sought supplementary information from the OPW in line with section 7 of the regulations. This was supplied in July 2021. During this period, a decision to confirm the River Bride scheme in Blackpool was challenged under a judicial review. This had an impact on the process underpinning the consent process for Crossmolina, as the Department was required to consider the legal arguments at play to ensure ongoing compliance with the regulations. Following the conclusion of these proceedings in early 2022, the Department sought legal advice on the grounds raised and updated its procedures accordingly.

The supplementary information received contained sufficient and significant additional information in relation to the effects on the environment of the proposed scheme. That, therefore, led to a second period of public consultation, which was then held, that finished in July 2022. On foot of the advice then received from an environmental consultant retained by the Department, additional supplementary information was requested from the OPW in July of last year in order to reach a full, reasoned conclusion of the environmental impacts of the scheme as required by the regulations. The OPW submitted this supplementary information in November of last year and it is currently being examined by the environmental consultants retained by my Department. The supplementary information is being examined by the retained consultants in order to determine whether the information supplied is considered to be significant in line with section 7C(3) of the regulations.  The information is also being examined to ensure that it is sufficient to allow a full, reasoned conclusion on the environmental impacts of the proposed scheme.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.