State to spend €250m on flood relief


OPW RESPONSE:STATE SPENDING on flood management has risen almost every year since the economy collapsed, the Office of Public Works said yesterday.

This year the OPW will spend €45 million – up from €23 million in 2007 – on capital schemes, with a further €17 million on maintenance.

The main schemes covered include completion of work at Mallow, Co Cork and Clonmel, Co Tipperary; and commencement of flood relief schemes at Ennis, Co Clare, Fermoy, Co Cork, and Bray, Co Wicklow.

Separate, ongoing schemes are also in place on the Suir at Clonmel; along the Dodder and Tolka rivers in Dublin; at John’s river in Waterford; in Mallow and Fermoy; Ennis, Co Clare; Mornington, Co Meath; Carlow; Tullamore, Co Offaly; and Bray, Co Wicklow.

There will also be a scheme of minor works costing €5 million that forms part of the overall €45 million capital budget.

A further 11 schemes are at the design or feasibility stages.

The OPW said it would also continue catchment-based flood risk assessments.

According to the Minister of State for the OPW, Brian Hayes, total spending will amount to more than €250 million over the next five years as flood-prevention measures take place in towns and villages.

Increased allocations have been made every year from 2007 with the exception of 2011, when the spend fell €4 million to €34 million. Mr Hayes said the five-year €250 million spend would include maintenance of arterial drainage schemes.

He said there were many areas of the country afflicted by severe localised flooding events that fall outside the remit of the major flood-defence programme. He added it was important these areas “receive an appropriate response”. In this regard, a minor works scheme had been set up.

The Department of the Environment said local authorities were warned of the impending rainfall and had taken precautions from Wednesday evening.

However, it said the impact of Wednesday night’s rainfall was intensified by the saturation of ground due to heavy rainfall earlier in the month, which it said was the wettest June on record.