Thursday 24 January 2019

Funding for flood defences welcomed

Funding will help tackle flooding issues in Dundalk as well as Carlingford and Blackrock
Funding will help tackle flooding issues in Dundalk as well as Carlingford and Blackrock

Margaret Roddy

Dundalk, Blackrock, Carlingford are among the 50 Irish cities, towns and villages which will get flood protection as part of the first phase of a €1bn defence programme.

The Office of Public Works (OPW) confirmed last week that detailed designs of schemes to protect Dundalk, Blackrock, Carlingford and Drogheda will get under way immediately.

The schemes for Dundalk, Blackrock, Carlingford and Greenore, which will cost at least €15million each, are among those being prioritised.

The funding announcement follows the completion of a six year study carried out by the Office of Public Works' Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management programme. Public consultation meetings were held throughout the country.

That study identified 1,737 houses at risk of flooding in Dundalk and surrounding areas and a further 296 homes along the north Louth coast at Carlingford and Greenore.

Cllr Maria Doyle said she is 'delighting' that the funding has come through.

'We have been waiting a few years to get to this stage and the next phase will be the detailed design of the projects, which will again involve public consultation.'

She said that announcement is 'great news for people living areas at risk of flooding, and I know they will really welcome it.'

'My own parents live at Mounthamilton on the Ardee Road, and while their house hasn't been flooded, three of their neighbours' houses have been flooded numerous times in the past years with three floods in the past six years.'

The funding has also been welcomed by Cllr Mark Dearey who noted that while the north East had got a significant proportion of the overall allocation, it was deserved and evidence based.

He praised all those 'who had got involved in the public consultation process, councillors and members of the public who had turned up and gave the benefit their local knowledge and observations.'

He was, however, concerned that the defence plans are based on current sea levels and don't take into account the threat from rising seas due to climate change.

'I did ask Irish Water if the flood defences could be built higher as it's something which concerns me as we still don't know whether these measures can be adjusted in the event of global sea levels rising.'

The high number of houses which will be defended from flooding in Dundalk shows we have built more houses in the wrong places,' he said, adding that it was important that the planning authority learn from past mistakes and that future development be carried out in a sustainable way.

Cllr Dearey said that a remaining issue which needed to be addressed in Dundalk was the combined sewer serving the Greenacres, Cluan Enda and Oaklawns area of town as it carries a risk of flooding as well as putting the waste water treatment plant under unnecessary pressure.

The Argus