‘Crazy’ spending on flood reports

laois County Councillors questioned the need for more public money to be spent on a flood risk survey, describing it as an unnecessary duplication.

laois County Councillors questioned the need for more public money to be spent on a flood risk survey, describing it as an unnecessary duplication.

Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald said she was confused by the documentation on the National Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment before the councillors. She said money had already been spent on a comprehensive plan.

“We have spoken about saving money.For the last county development plan we hired engineers, I can’t understand why it has to be done on a local and national level.

“They are running parallel, have we learnt nothing in the last few years about wasting money on the same work. I think its all crazy,” she said.

Cllr Paul Mitchell said nothing ever happened after the reports had been compiled.

“Five or six years ago, the OPW had great plans for Portarlington but nothing ever happened. They need to look at structures to prevent flooding,” he said.

The Port councillor said he wanted to see something being done this time. He said there was one estate which was cut off every time the river rises.

“It’s just on the Offaly side of Port, but it affects the people of Laois who are bringing children to school. We need to co-operate closely with Offaly to ensure that the work is carried out,” he said.

The councillors agreed that part of the problem with flooding was because the rivers needed to be cleaned.

Cllr Tom Mulhall said great work had been carried out on the River Barrow near Fisherstown, recently. But he said the work was initially restricted by the fisheries board.

“We had a public meeting on site and we got agreement from the fisheries board and the NPWS and we ended up with three diggers.

“Great work was done there this year, but more work will have to be done next year.”

Properties in Cullohill and Durrow were being destroyed by flooding, according to Cllr Martin Phelan. He said the local people should be consulted for these surveys.

“I don’t believe that the OPW know where any river is,” he said.

While Cllr Brendan Phelan said there was €15,000 in Borris-in-Ossory for work on the River Nore, which could not be spent.

“We know what the problem is, we don’t need another consultants report.”

Cllr James Daly questioned why areas such as Ballyhide and Crossneen were not being assessed.

“They are the real areas of flooding in the county,” he said.

County Manager, Peter Carey said he shared the sentiments of the members.

But he said the OPW flood risk assessment was different to the work that was carried out for the county development plan.

“There was a lot of confusion over who was responsible for the widespread flooding a couple of years ago. This is an overall attempt to deal with that,” he said.