Written answers

Tuesday, 18 June 2024

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Flood Risk Management

Photo of Cathal CroweCathal Crowe (Clare, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

122. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the OPW will address flooding issues associated with a pocket of land (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25981/24]

Photo of Kieran O'DonnellKieran O'Donnell (Limerick City, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

I wish to thank Deputy Crowe for raising the matter of flooding issues in Drumquin, Co. Clare.

The Office of Public Works (OPW) has a statutory duty to maintain Arterial Drainage Schemes performed under the Arterial Drainage Act 1945, as amended, and is currently undertaking maintenance works in parts of the Fergus Estuarine Embankment Scheme, which are located north and north east of Drumquin.

Based on the information provided by Deputy Crowe, and in the absence of specific land co-ordinates, Officials within my Department have identified an assumed site area in relation to the relevant landowner, and advised that there is no OPW Arterial Drainage Scheme in this location within the townland of Drumquin. The OPW understands that the sluice gate and defence embankment referenced in the correspondence provided to the OPW relates to “Land Commission” defences, which are in private ownership, and for which no state body/agency (including the OPW) has a statutory responsibility.

To facilitate further investigation, I request that Deputy Crowe provide the relevant land co-ordinates to the OPW, so that my Officials can confirm categorically whether the flood defence structures form part of an Arterial Drainage Scheme. In the event that the OPW have incorrectly identified the flood defence structure and do form part of an Arterial Drainage Scheme under the auspices of the OPW, Officials within my Department will carry out an immediate inspection and make any necessary arrangements to manage flood risk at this location.

With regards to concerns of flooding of properties in the Drumquin area, I note that such issues are a matter, in the first instance, for the relevant local authority to investigate and address. In the event that the relevant local authority considers that investment is needed to address this risk, it can apply to the OPW for funding under the OPW’s Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme. The purpose of the scheme is to provide funding to local authorities to undertake minor flood mitigation works or studies to address localised flooding and coastal protection problems within their administrative areas.

Under the OPW’s Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme, applications are considered for projects that are estimated to cost not more than €750,000 in each instance. Funding of up to 90% of the cost is available for approved projects. Applications are assessed by the OPW having regard to the specific economic, technical social and environmental criteria of the scheme, including a cost benefit ratio.

With regards to “slob” lands and the relevant landowner’s concerns pertaining to potential claims arising from injuries by persons when accessing the site, I can confirm that the OPW undertakes work on lands at Islandavanna, as the OPW is responsible for the maintenance of channels, embankments and associated infrastructure that form part of Arterial Drainage Schemes completed under the Arterial Drainage Acts 1945, as amended. The OPW however does not own the property/land or that adjacent to such channels, on which embankments and infrastructure are located. The OPW only has powers of entry onto the land to undertake any required maintenance works and relies on local cooperation and agreements. Therefore, any issues associated with use by unauthorised access, use by members of the public or liability concerns would be a matter for the legal owner.

I note that there has been construction works undertaken along an Embankment (E20) at Islandavanna to maintain coastal defences and that the OPW has used a parcel of land to facilitate this maintenance activity. I can confirm that the OPW intends to return this area to a greenfield site and Officials from my Department are willing to meet and discuss same with the relevant landowner if contact details can be provided.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.