Laois-Offaly TD and Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, has today (Monday July 24) welcomed Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, the Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief to County Laois.
Minister Moran carried out a series of official engagements including a meeting with the Laois County Council manager, and a tour of Emo Court, one of the OPW's prime historic sites, where both Ministers met with officials from the OPW.
Minister Flanagan stated: “I am delighted to welcome Minister Moran and his officials to County Laois today. Over the past number of months, I have been working closely with Kevin and his Department in relation to flood relief measures for County Laois and how best to maximise the OPW tourist sites in the county, such as Emo Court, the Rock of Dunamaise and Heywood Gardens.”
The Ministers viewed the circular lake and woodland walkway in Emo Court and plans for further developments in the grounds were discussed. Planning permission is in place for the first phase of a three-phase project to address waste-water issues and the installation of a wastewater treatment plant at Emo Court.
“I have asked the Minister to ensure that these works are commenced as matter of priority, and we also discussed the advancement of an upgrade of the toilet facilities in Emo Court to accommodate the increasing number of visitors to the area,” said Minister Flanagan.
The Ministers also held a very productive meeting with Laois County Council Chief Executive Mr John Mulholland and the Director of Services. Many important issues such as flood relief and advancement of the new Garda Station in Portlaoise, along with the new courthouse were discussed.
Minister Flanagan is particularly keen that additional funding is sanctioned to Laois County Council for flood relief measures.
“After years of neglect, €55,000 in funding was recently secured to carry out works along the River Nore under the Minor Flood Works Scheme. Flooding is becoming a major issue in some parts of the constituency in times of bad weather. I am acutely aware that hundreds of acres of lands along the Nore, Barrow and Blackwater River are subject to severe flooding, particularly during the winter months,” concluded Minister Flanagan.