Bandon Flood Group urge faster review of €10m relief scheme

OPW should ‘follow example of British government’ and reduce the period of review

looding in Bandon as a result of Storm Desmond. Photograph: Denis Boyle

looding in Bandon as a result of Storm Desmond. Photograph: Denis Boyle

 

The time period for carrying out an environmental impact review on a €10 million flood relief scheme for Bandon should be reduced from eight weeks to two weeks as an emergency measure, a local campaign group has urged.

The Bandon Flood Group will meet with Minister for State with responsibility for the OPW Simon Harris when he visits the town on Monday and the group will make the case that the OPW should follow the example of the British government and cut the review period as a matter of urgency.

Gillian Powell of the Bandon Flood Group said that British prime minister David Cameron had speeded up the process in the UK as an emergency measure after severe flooding hit Cumbria last week and Ireland should do something similar.

Ms Powell said that reducing the time for the review of the environmental impact study by independent consultants from eight weeks to two weeks would help speed up the Bandon Relief Scheme significantly and enable it to start ahead of its scheduled start date of May 1st.

Delay

Mr Harris’s predecessor with responsibility for the OPW, Brian Hayes, visited Bandon in 2011 and again in 2012 and promised that work would commence on the scheme in 2013 but the threat of a legal challenge by a contractor who didn’t make the shortlist delayed the project.

At a rally in Bandon last Monday night, Eddie Goggin, editor of the Opinion, a local magazine, told the crowd of around 1,500 that the “guts of two years” was lost after the OPW withdrew the original tender documents on foot of the legal threat and only re-issued them last month.

Ms Powell said contractors are due to return their tenders by January 8th next and the Bandon Flood Group will be impressing on Mr Harris the need for work to commence soon after when he visits the town this afternoon to meet up to 50 traders whose businesses were flooded last weekend.

Meanwhile another campaign group, Bandon Business Alliance, has confirmed over 50 businesses in the town have signed a petition pledging to withhold more than €750,000 in commercial rates from Cork County Council if work on the flood relief scheme in the town has not started by June 30th.