Sunday 25 September 2016

Destruction caused by flooding could have been avoided

Published 17/12/2015 | 02:30

Flooded roads in Banagher, Co Offaly. Photo: Niall Carson/PA
Flooded roads in Banagher, Co Offaly. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

The terrible destruction of property and the dreadful inconvenience caused to residents in flooded areas could have been prevented. Now, following the flooding, the following measures should be put in place:

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1. The building of reinforced concrete barriers along rivers inclined to burst their banks. Barriers of stone and other materials were erected in ancient times where the Tiber enters Rome; and in modern times, the Dutch keep out the sea, and contain rivers, with dykes.

2. Canals should be dug. Even if buildings have to be demolished to make way for modern canals, they should be reconstructed on higher ground.

If it is not feasible to dig canals adjacent to imperilled rivers, they should be dug, miles away, to divert streams into smaller, artificial rivers; if it is necessary, these artificial rivers should be run in tunnels through hills on their way to the sea.

3. Flood-parks need to be created, covering an area of 24 acres and to a depth of 24 feet - in other words, a flood reservoir - thereby creating temporary drainage facilities. Then, after the flooding has subsided, pumps should be used to empty the parks.

4. Planning permission should not be granted for buildings in low-lying areas. Houses that have been severely flooded should be demolished and rebuilt on stilts or with basements - basements constructed with reinforced concrete, tanked, and with small windows at five or six feet above the level of the pavement - with indoor descent, naturally.

5. Most, if not all rivers, should be widened and deepened.

In the short term, all of these schemes will cost huge sums of money; nevertheless, this work will create more employment, while at the same time eliminating physical and mental stress and financial losses.

Decades ago, before the soakage areas (fields) were reduced with concrete jungles - jungles that run water directly into rivers while the rain is still falling - there were fewer reports of severe flooding.

Therefore, the construction of subsidiary rivers (canals) must begin immediately to prevent further, severe flooding.

Daniel Mc Carron

Bray, Co Wicklow

Lack of gardaí costing State

In my youth I can recall gardaí on the beat in every town and village in rural Ireland. Two members of An Garda Siochana would walk down the streets of the town and up the other side, then down all the back streets and laneways, every few hours of every day.

Now, you will only see one garda drive down the street and straight back to the station.

I have called on several occasions in relation to the disgraceful parking habits of the local residents only to find the garda station is closed and, yet, when I phoned the local HQ I was told that there were several gardaí assigned to this station - so where were they?

I have been hemmed in on a daily basis and it's only a matter of time before someone is going to get hurt because of the confrontations on the street. The offenders just shrug their shoulders and ask: "What's your problem? I will only be a few minutes?" Nobody gets a ticket for these offences and the government is losing a fortune in fines.

Francis P O' Reagan

Address with editor

Let them answer to Revenue

Watching the local politicians who were secretly interviewed insisting on payments would make anybody sick, but the predictable outrage by fellow politicians is equally hard to listen to.

Money, power and corruption often go hand in hand and outrage alone won't change that.

Another well-paid body to oversee the work of politicians would be doomed to failure, destined to die a slow death smothered in red tape.

But we do have one body that even the most determined won't mess with - I am, of course, referring to the Revenue.

When the Government encountered difficulty collecting the household charge they looked to Revenue and within a short period of time the compliance rate shot up.

All declarations submitted by politicians should be immediately forwarded to Revenue, which can cross-check against their records and any discrepancies immediately investigated with the threat of the dreaded 'full audit'.

This measure alone will change the mindset overnight and will deter even the most determined from making false declarations, but more importantly, prove to be a major disincentive for any would-be politician with questionable morals entering politics in the future.

Eugene McGuinness

Bishop Birch Place, Kilkenny

No quarter for 1916

Dear Minister, I listened to the debate on the 1916 Quarter Development Bill 2015 with dismay.

In my view, the divergence between the public soundbites of this Government in support of the vision and the ideals of the men and women of 1916 could not have been greater.

The absence of deputies from the Government benches betrayed a fundamental disrespect.

Next year's 1916 commemorations provide all of us with an opportunity to reflect, to learn from those that have gone before us, to inspire us in building a society and a republic that we can be proud of and look forward to with optimism.

The younger members of our communities, those that will develop and shape this nation for the future, deserve visionary and ambitious leadership. That was sadly lacking in the debate.

The proposal to develop a 1916 quarter at Moore Street deserved serious consideration.

This was an opportunity to provide the citizens of our State with a re-development of this historic area that will inspire us all for generations to come. Shoals of 'red herrings' swam around the Dail Chamber during that debate. A good public servant offers solutions, not lame excuses. A melancholy day.

Eamonn Ceannt

Monkstown, Co Dublin

Irish Independent

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