€7m flood plan for river that cost mother her life after deluge criticised for being 'extreme'
Plans for flood protection works along a river that cost a mother her life in a deluge nine years ago have run into opposition from locals.
Residents say the €7m flood alleviation scheme for the Poddle river in Dublin has been drawn up without public consultation, may be ineffective and will cause serious environmental damage.
South Dublin County Council (SDCC) had intended to submit a planning application for the scheme to An Bord Pleanála last week but held off and is now preparing to hold two public information events, one this Thursday and another next Monday.
The scheme involves the construction of walls along the banks of the Poddle, some straightening of the river, felling of trees and the creation of an 'integrated construction wetland' - essentially a large pond - in a public green area, Tymon Park.
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The plans are a response to the extreme rainfall and flooding of October 24, 2011, when the river broke its banks and flooded large areas of Harold's Cross on the city's southside.
Celia de Jesus (58), a nurse and married mother of one, drowned when water poured into her basement flat on Parnell Road, Dublin.
Roisin McAleer, of the Crumlin Clean-Up Group, which regularly carries out rubbish removal from the Poddle, said none of the members wanted to minimise the loss of Ms de Jesus but they felt the council's response was extreme and overlooked some obvious solutions.
"Our concerns are two-pronged. This has been done without proper public consultation. There was an information day on December 19 where there were a few maps that we couldn't make head or tail of and there was no form or official way to give feedback.
"There should have been proper public notice and information given through people's doors," she said.
She added the plans also appeared excessive. "We're pulling huge amounts of rubbish out of the river every week - whole sofas and mattresses.
"We're seeing the culverts blocked regularly. If the river was properly maintained, it would have greater capacity for heavy rain.
"We've asked to see the environmental impact statement. We haven't got it yet but I can't see this as being anything but damaging."
SDCC said the environmental impact assessment report was being finalised and would be submitted with the planning application, at which point all the documentation would be made public by both itself and Dublin City Council.
"There will then follow no less than a six-week statutory consultation period where submissions can be made by the public to the board," it said.