Action demanded to get flood causing trees out of the River Barrow to protect Portarlington

Council also gives update on dredging plan

Trees that have collapsed into the River Barrow need to be removed to reduce the risk of flooding around Portarlington according to a local councillor.

Cllr Aidan Mullins raised the issue with officials at a recent meeting where flooding was discussed. He provided photographic evidence (see above) to the Laois County Council of the problems which he said he saw for himself in the company of local anglers.

"I walked with one of the senior members of the local angling club from Portarlington to Lea Castle. I took photographs which show trees that have either fallen but are still growing but leaning into the middle of the river that's trapping debris and branches and flotsam and everything on the river," he said.

He called for action at the Portarlington Graigucullen Municipal District meeting.

"Surely we can go in and remove trees that are not disturbing any plants for wildlife," he said.

The Sinn Féin Councillor asked: "Is it possible just to go in and clear away these trees that are falling and causing obstructions?"

Mr Philip McVeigh, Senior Executive Engineer, said emergency work could be carried out on the trees.

Mr McVeigh also updated Cllr PJ Kelly on drainage works  on the River Barrow and its tributaries in 2021.

The engineer said the council is progressing the Ecological Assessment Reports to obtain the statutory consents for silt removal works  at the following locations: 

• Stradbally River (at Ballymanus,  upstream of the Aqueduct); 

• Stradbally River (between Main Street  and Garrans Bridge); 

• River Barrow (between Belan and the  M7 motorway); 

• River Barrow (between Stradbally  River and Blackford Stream confluences); 

• Douglas River; 

• Timogue River (between Poles Bridge  and Stradbally River);

Cllr Kelly welcomed the reply saying many areas are prone to flooding but Port needs protection.

"All this cleaning is a huge help for the prevention of flooding in Portarlington," he said.

Cllr Aisling Moran was puzzled by restrictions on river clearance restrictions using dredging. She said EU rules are used to claim that rivers cannot be cleaned.

"It's those very same EU rules that all the other EU countries are using to clean their rivers out. So I don't know what our interpretation of it is," she said.

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