Wednesday, 18 November 2020
I thank Senator Dolan for sharing time with me. The Minister of State is more than welcome. We met during the summer - unfortunately, when many parts of west Cork had flooded. I think of the residents of Rosscarbery, Dunmanway, Bandon to a lesser degree and especially Bantry, which was very badly damaged during the floods in August. The Minister of State came down, was very courteous and met many of the residents and traders. Unfortunately, last weekend Bantry was again hit by tidal flooding and 13 more premises were flooded. It is therefore an ongoing problem we have, but we need to acknowledge the amount of work the OPW has done in my constituency, Cork South-West. Towns such as Bandon have received significant funding. Clonakilty had no flooding issue this summer, which was down to the works carried out on the ground, and the Skibbereen flood defences are nearly finished. Bantry is probably the last town in west Cork that has a significant issue. The culvert, which the Minister of State saw on his visit to Bantry, is a real issue, and how we might work to produce a plan to extend that culvert from the mill all the way to the bay is a priority for the residents of the town. Without that culvert we will, unfortunately, be exposed to the trauma of more floods.
The coastal aspect of my county is well noted.There was tidal flooding last weekend. The proposals for main drainage works or flooding defence in Bantry are a major issue. We need to progress those two major projects as soon as we can.
The other major issue in the county is the lack of river maintenance. The county engineer has told landowners that it is their responsibility but they need to get permits and licenses. We have so many rivers and tributaries. Trees and debris are in the rivers and no maintenance is carried out. Clarity is required in order that we can have some proactive action. Minor maintenance works on those pinch points would mean so much for this community, which has, unfortunately, been plagued by floods over the past decade.