Seanad debates

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters

Flood Risk Management

2:30 pm

Photo of Patrick O'DonovanPatrick O'Donovan (Limerick County, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

It is important to point out that as part of the scheme, Louth County Council intends to integrate in a comprehensive and planned manner to consider the construction of a greenway that will form part of the proposed greenway link from Belfast to Dublin that is often referred to as the great eastern greenway. It will enable walkers and cyclists to travel off-road between Belfast and Dublin. As Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, I have been keen to progress the usage of embankments for purposes other than flood relief. They are now very much being incorporated into local amenities.

I take this opportunity to reiterate that all of this is predicated on the project moving through the planning process without interruption. I say that in the context of good news today from Cork city, where we have finally jumped a huge hurdle in the context of Morrison's Island. I wish Louth County Council, which is the lead agency, the very best of luck in the delivery of this project without interruption. Let us hope there will not be unnecessary interruption, particularly at planning stag. The people of Dundalk, Blackrock south, Ardee, Drogheda, Greenore, Baltray and many other places in County Louth are waiting for flood relief that is very important in that part of the country because sea levels are rising. This is a big threat. As I have stated previously in the House, the greatest threat to this country in the short and medium term is not from any kind of invading force; it is actually from the sea. We need to take that seriously. Unfortunately, there are people in the political sphere who do not wish to take it seriously and think we can just row our boat along and everything will be fine, and we will all go up to the High Court for judicial reviews and challenges and everything like that. In the meantime, the flood waters continue to rise and people's houses, businesses and lives continue to be destroyed. They cannot get insurance. It is a hamster wheel, with the same thing happening repeatedly. I keep coming in here with the same reports and answers. These people deserve better and the Oireachtas needs to do more for them than we are doing.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.