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Written Answers — Department of Public Expenditure and Reform: Office of Public Works (11 Jul 2024)

Kieran O'Donnell: I will respond Directly to the Deputy in this regard.

Written Answers — Department of Public Expenditure and Reform: Flood Relief Schemes (11 Jul 2024)

Kieran O'Donnell: Following the severe flooding in north Louth last November, flood event drone footage was captured and surveying of the affected areas arranged. The Office of Public Works (OPW) met with Louth County Council engineers on 9th October 2023 to review the work completed to date on the Carlingford/Greenore Flood Relief Scheme and to plan for the scheme going forward. This included scoping...

Written Answers — Department of Public Expenditure and Reform: Capital Expenditure Programme (11 Jul 2024)

Kieran O'Donnell: Since the welcome announcement of €10m of funding from Shared Island for the enhancement of the visitor attraction at the Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre and Oldbridge Estate, the OPW has been working to progress this landmark project. The deputy may find my responses to PQ 1758/24 and PQ 15330/24 useful, as these outlines in some detail the vision for Oldbridge Estate. The...

Written Answers — Department of Public Expenditure and Reform: State Properties (11 Jul 2024)

Kieran O'Donnell: The Office of Public Works administers property held by the Minister for Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform (the Minister) including property that devolves to the State under Part III of the State Property Act 1954 (the Act). Real property (land / buildings) under Part III of the State Property Act 1954 is usually property of a dissolved company. Part III of the Act grants limited...

Written Answers — Department of Public Expenditure and Reform: Office of Public Works (11 Jul 2024)

Kieran O'Donnell: I will respond Directly to the Deputy in this regard.

Written Answers — Department of Public Expenditure and Reform: Office of Public Works (10 Jul 2024)

Kieran O'Donnell: The mandate of the Office of Public Works is manage the State property portfolio under its remit, flood risk management and maintenance, presentation and providing access to the State's portfolio of historic properties and national monuments. This mandate includes maintenance and presentation of Ireland's most iconic properties including Ireland's two World Heritage sites, 800 National...

Written Answers — Department of Public Expenditure and Reform: Flood Risk Management (10 Jul 2024)

Kieran O'Donnell: The Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme - Ireland’s largest study of flood risk, was completed by the Office of Public Works in 2018. This studied the flood risk for two-thirds of the population against their risk of flooding from rivers and the sea. An output of the CFRAM Programme, the Government’s Flood Risk Management Plans provide the evidence...

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate: Heritage Sites (9 Jul 2024)

Kieran O'Donnell: I would never question the Deputy's bona fides, as, I have no doubt, he would not question mine.

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate: Heritage Sites (9 Jul 2024)

Kieran O'Donnell: I acknowledge yours.

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate: Heritage Sites (9 Jul 2024)

Kieran O'Donnell: I am doing my level best. At the end of the day, there is a working group. I met the group twice and am hoping to meet it again shortly with the Deputy and others. I am open to meeting any group but I inherited a situation where a working group was established that was multifactoral across the spectrum in the community. I want to work. The Deputy is correct: the M4 is the access point....

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate: Heritage Sites (9 Jul 2024)

Kieran O'Donnell: I thank Deputy Durkan for raising this. I have been in this role for a relatively short period. I will not go over the script I have been provided. I will give my thoughts, which are that I have been in this role for a short period and have come to this as an honest broker. I have had three meetings of the working group. I want people to work collaboratively. I have come in with no...

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Heritage Sites (9 Jul 2024)

Kieran O'Donnell: I thank Deputy Stanton again. I was in Barryscourt Castle on a fine summer's day. I commend the OPW staff on the fantastic work and their utter commitment to it. Many of them are from the area. I was really impressed by the work. As Deputy Stanton is aware, the initial phase of the projects, which have been ongoing for some time, involves progressively drying the entire castle structure,...

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Heritage Sites (9 Jul 2024)

Kieran O'Donnell: The context here is that it is an Anglo-Norman castle, the seat of the Barry family, and one of the finest restored Irish tower houses. It dates back to 1392 and 1420. The castle has an outer bawn wall and largely intact corner towers. The ground floor contains a dungeon in which prisoners were dropped via the drop hole located on the second floor. I did not actually go near that point....

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Heritage Sites (9 Jul 2024)

Kieran O'Donnell: I am aware from meeting people locally of this particular plan for in Carrigtwohill. I had a relatively short visit there but we and the OPW would always be looking at particular historical sites and the comparative advantage in terms of the area around it. That is something we are open to in terms of the OPW considering any proposal. In most cases when we are looking at them, they are...

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Flood Relief Schemes (9 Jul 2024)

Kieran O'Donnell: I thank the Deputy. I appreciate his utter frustration. In my role as Minister of State with responsibility for the OPW, my main purpose in visiting Midleton recently was to get a full picture as to where the schemes were at. The OPW is actively engaging with Cork County Council on progressing the substantive main scheme. The only timeframe that is within the control of the council is the...

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Flood Relief Schemes (9 Jul 2024)

Kieran O'Donnell: There were elements-----

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Flood Relief Schemes (9 Jul 2024)

Kieran O'Donnell: Has it taken longer than one would have liked? Yes. I have been in this role for a short period. Storm Babet was certainly a factor. Anything being put forward had to be proofed against such a storm. Once again, I will note that the main scheme will take a number of years to complete. We therefore must look at what must be done now to protect people's homes in Midleton, Castlemartyr,...

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Flood Relief Schemes (9 Jul 2024)

Kieran O'Donnell: She probably has a good update then. When approved, the steering group will publish the updated steering programme to the project website shortly thereafter. It may be worth noting that The Connacht Tribune in early March 2024 published an article stating that the planning for this scheme was now delayed to 2027. Given that the preferred option for the scheme is not yet confirmed, the...

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Flood Relief Schemes (9 Jul 2024)

Kieran O'Donnell: The consultants are in the process of updating the scheme's programme, which is planned to be considered and approved, as I said, by the project steering group at its next meeting, tomorrow, 10 July. When approved, the steering group will publish the updated scheme programme to the project's website thereafter. I understand that this has been a long process; however, due to the increased...

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Flood Relief Schemes (9 Jul 2024)

Kieran O'Donnell: I will take the matters in reverse order. The council recently submitted a request for additional funding to the OPW for an increase in consultancy fees to facilitate the revised scope, and these have been approved by the OPW. As I said, the consultants are in the process of updating the scheme's programme, which will be considered by the project steering group tomorrow, 10 July. I do not...

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