Solution to Clonlara Flooding Found – Minister Breen

Solution to Clonlara Flooding Found – Minister Breen

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Minster with responsibility for the OPW Sean Canney during a recent visit to Clonlara – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2017

A cost effective plan to address serious flooding problem in Clonlara has been identified by the Office of Public Works (OPW) and is just awaiting official approval from residents and local authority.

Minister for Employment and Small Business Pat Breen has said he has been informed by the OPW that there is now a definite plan to alleviate ongoing flooding issues at Springfield, Clonlara.

In one of his regular private meetings with officials from the OPW which took place in Dublin this week, the Clare minister of state was assured that the plan would be both effective on flooding and cost effective.

“I have been informed by the OPW that it is proposing a solution at Springfield that would include an Impermeable Embankment measuring about 1 kilometre in length and 1.75 metres in height. A second smaller land bank would also be constructed nearby, measuring approximately 180 metres in length by 0.4 metres high. The proposal also includes the construction of a nearby pumping station,” said Minister Breen.

“The two land banks and pumping station will offer flood protection to homes in Springfield which are at immediate risk, and to neighbouring areas which have been cut off in the past as a result of flooding. The project, at this very early stage, is estimated to cost approximately one million euros, but a full and detailed costing has yet to take place,” he added.

“It has been a long process finding a solution to the flooding issue in Springfield, and while there is still a way to go in implementing the plan, I am satisfied that the process to a real and final solution has begun,” assured Minister Breen.

Members of the Hogan family who were evacuated from his home at Springfield in December 2105 – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015

The plan which continues to be refined following feedback from a public consultation meeting between residents from Springfield, the OPW and consultants Jacobs Engineering Group Inc last week.

The residents are now seeking the professional advice of Clare County Council on the plan. Once the local authority has given its approval to this two land bank proposal, the residents will then write to the OPW giving their approval also.

“Once the OPW has received written approval from the residents, who have been the driving force behind these flood prevention works from day one, the OPW will then forward the final plan to the Flood Risk Management Plan. The funding for the Springfield plan will then be sought from the Minister for Public Expenditure Pascal O’Donohoe,” said Minister Breen.

“It is agreed that the proposal in place is good value for money and I will be making that point to Minister O’Donohoe,” added the Clare Fine Gael minister of state.

Members of the Defence Forces and Clare Civil Defence assisting at Springfield in 2015 – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015

Planning permission for the work may also have to be sought and the plans may also require public exhibition under the 1945 Arterial Drainage Act.

“The residents in Clonlara have endured a lot of hardship as a result of the flooding, but this is finally some good news. We have worked hard, and I will continue to work closely with the OPW and Clare County Council to ensure that the final solution becomes a reality as soon as possible,” said Minister Breen.

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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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