RESIDENTS in Shanahoe are stuck between a rock and a hard place as Laois County Council have no money in their budget to fix the village’s ongoing drainage problem which is estimated at nearly €50,000.
Drainage in Shanahoe has been causing problems for years but has been growing steadily worse over the winter months. The road through the village has been flooded almost constantly since autumn, leaving residents unable to walk through, and making it extremely difficult for cars to pass.
However there is no money in the County Council budget to fix the problem. Speaking to the Leinster Express, Senior Executive Engineer for the Western Area, Michael Malone said that money would have to come from the county roads discretionary budget.
However he added that this buget is decreasing every year and is used up fixing a number of other issues including footpaths, bridge repairs, erection of signs, erection of lights, replacing existing gullies, short sections of culverts and pipes.
“I have been seeking funding for this now for some time and several politicians have contacted me about it over the last three years and made representations. I looked into the OPW funding but could not avail of it because you must first demonstrate that a house or public building such as a school has flooded”.
Mr Malone said he also requested Water Services to seek capital funding for Shanahoe and to sell the installation of this particular pipe to the DOE as a trunk storm sewer which in the future could be gradually added to and provide a storm drainage system for the village at large, as well as asking relevant councillors to support this, but with no success to date.
The cost to fix the drainage at the main point of flooding would be approximately €32,976, with a further €15,497 needed to fix drainage at Clash Crossroads at the end of the village.
Mr Malone added that his cost estimations include speaking with landowners to secure their permission by negotiation and agreement, rather than through powers of legislation.
“I have not spoken to any of the landowners about entering their land because there is no point in going to them without a budget behind me. But I would be confident that if we had the funding and approached the landowners we would secure their permission as all those affected in the village are very frustrated and have been very patient considering the ongoing inconvenience and unsightly pool of water that is frequently on the road”.
Brian Stanley TD demanded a new drainage system be installed in the village after speaking to a number of residents.
“Local residents have put up with this problem for long enough. Three different spots in the village have been flooding badly for years with one particular location flooded almost permanently. This causes huge problems and inconvenience locally as children can’t walk to school and people are unable to walk through it for funerals. During heavy rain the front of one house and adjoining farmyard has water flowing in and local motorists have been stuck in the floods. The situation is so bad that a householder has on occasion had to try to draw water off the road in a slurry tank.”
He said that he has been raising the problem with senior staff in Laois County Council and lobbying to have a new drainage system installed.
“The current situation can’t be allowed to continue year after year, a solution is long overdue and action is now needed”.