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State flood schemes hit by long delays


Kevin 'Boxer' Moran. Picture: Collins

Kevin 'Boxer' Moran. Picture: Collins

Kevin 'Boxer' Moran. Picture: Collins

Almost a third of the Government's major flood relief schemes are delayed, with some projects already three years behind schedule.

This leaves families in vulnerable areas facing a long wait for initiatives to protect them from rising flood waters.

More than 30 schemes in vulnerable parts of the country overseen by the Office of Public Works are described as "at construction", but 10 are already significantly delayed. The worst hit is on the River Dodder in Dublin, where the expected completion date of 2017 has been pushed back to next year at the earliest.

Another scheme in Athlone, Co Westmeath, which was one of the worst-hit parts of the country during storms in 2015 and 2016, is a year behind schedule. Schemes in Limerick, Kildare, Laois and north county Dublin also face delays.

Westmeath County Council appointed consultants to the Athlone scheme in 2017, more than a year after families were forced to flee their homes to escape rising Shannon waters.

OPW Minister Kevin 'Boxer' Moran has lobbied for greater efforts to address flooding in the town. A flood alleviation plan was devised, broken into eight parts targeting surrounding areas. Work was to be carried out in each section on a "cell-by-cell" basis, the OPW said.

Work on one of these cells has been completed while the others are still ongoing. The scheme was expected to be completed by the end of 2021 but this weekend the OPW confirmed the project was not likely to conclude until 2022.

Work on the River Dodder in Dublin city has been delayed because unforeseen works were needed near Herbert Park Bridge. During early work on the project an issue arose due to the retention of a historic wall near the RDS.

This made necessary new planning permission and design work. The OPW said "protracted discussions" between Dublin City Council and a number of landowners about access affected the delivery of the scheme.

It is now not likely to be completed until next year, three years later than planned.

An objection has stemmed progress on the Lower Morrell flood relief scheme, parts of Kill, Straffan and Sallins in Co Kildare.

An Bord Pleanala granted approval for the €11m scheme in April last year and work was planned to begin soon after.

However, an objection has led to a judicial review of the planning board's decision to grant approval and this has not yet been resolved.

"It is not possible to confirm a start date at this time but it is hoped that works will commence in early 2020," an OPW spokesman said. This suggests the project will be two years behind schedule when work begins.

Planning for a scheme at King's Island in Limerick was due to be submitted to An Bord Pleanala by last month but has still not been lodged.

Schemes in Malahide, Portmarnock and on the River Poddle in Dublin are also approximately three months behind schedule.

An environmental impact assessment due to be carried out on works to address flooding on the River Poddle was due to be submitted this year before construction starts in 2020.

However, this assessment will now not take place until next year at the earliest.

In Portarlington, Co Laois, the appointment of an engineer was to go to tender before the end of last month but this has not yet happened.

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