Concerns raised over flood defences in Clare

Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015

Concerns have been expressed over the county’s flood defence systems in place.

Members of Clare County Council are keen to meet with a representative from the Office of Public Works (OPW) to discuss what procedures are in place. It comes on the back of a motion from Independent Cllr Gerry Flynn at this month’s meeting of the local authority.

- Advertisement -

Flynn asked “In view of the serious threat to County Clare’s infrastructure From Coastal Erosion and Flood Embankment Deficiencies, that Clare County Council summon the Office of Public Works (OPW) to attend a meeting as a matter of urgency to discuss what measures they are planning to protect communities and vital infrastructure in vulnerable areas throughout Clare”.

Addressing Cllr Flynn’s views, Senior Engineer with Clare County Council, Tom Tiernan agreed that there is “reason for concern regarding significant and critically strategic sections of the Co. Clare coastline”.

Tiernan referenced the Draft Flood Risk Management Plan which “acknowledges the existence of the embankments which separate Shannon Town and Shannon Airport from the estuary but doesn’t adopt a position regarding the integrity or otherwise of same. As I understand it, these embankments were never formally designed to meet particular standards and they have an inclination to settle and require topping up from time to time. The town section is the responsibility of the OPW while the airport section is the responsibility of the Airport Authority”.

“It is a matter of concern that CFRAMS deals with the town and airport embankments as separate entities and appears to put inappropriate emphasis on individual responsibility for separate sections of embankment above the overall need to define what action is required to ensure an appropriate level of protection for Shannon (including the airport) into the future”.

Tiernan said that development pressures in Shannon were increasing and the future provision of housing needs to be met. “An urgent strategic approach is required with a view to ensuring that the current structural status of the Shannon Embankments is defined as soon as possible so as to determine the extent of all necessary remediation/reconstruction works required to secure the future integrity and protection of the town, the industrial zones and the airport”.

“This is the type of response that should ring alarm bells in Clare County Council” Gerry Flynn stated. He thanked Tom Tiernan for the information and said people were tired of suffering before calling on the council to summon the OPW as soon as possible.

Fine Gael’s Johnny Flynn praised his namesake for bringing forward the “timely” motion. “Flood relief in Shannon Airport is of huge importance to the county”. He added that the OPW “can’t walk away from their responsibility”.

Michael Begley questioned the capability of the OPW staff. “Is it the OPW or their terms of references that are so weak that we can’t get more solid reports or are they not up for the job” he asked while mentioning last year’s floods in Springfield, Clonlara.

Fianna Fáil’s Cathal Crowe paid tribute to OPW Minister Sean Canney who recently announced plans to dredge the River Shannon in an attempt to avoid flooding. His party colleague Michael Hillery said “nothing has happened in areas with new structures” while also calling for an invitation to be sent to the OPW to speak to councillors.

“We do need somebody to take responsibility. We’re getting money to repair and nothing to defend”, declared Cllr Pat Hayes. “We have to react but reacting to situations is not the way going forward”. Hayes encouraged planned thinking as opposed to reactive thinking which he felt the council were guilty of.

Concluding the discussion, Gerry Flynn noted “Tom (Tiernan) says a lot of thinking must go into this I want a lot of action”. He continued “complacency is not something we can afford”. Flynn felt Clare County Council and the OPW need to be more proactive in their efforts.

- Advertisement -

Recent Posts

- Advertisement -