Kevin Boxer Moran, Charlie Flanagan and Padraig Fleming in Mountmellick. Pic: Kevin Byrne
Funding of €3.1 million has been allocated to design and develop flood defences in Mountmellick and Portarlington according to Minister for Flood Relief, Kevin 'Boxer' Moran.
A project office is being set up specifically for this work to be carried out between the Office of Public Works and the local authority.
“The Flood Risk Management Plan for Mountmellick includes a proposed outline flood relief scheme costing €3.1m to protect 46 properties identified to be at risk.
“The money is there and my department will work closely with the local authority in relation to designing and developing that scheme for the people that have been so badly affected.
"Portarlington does fit into that based on the CFRAM,” Minister Moran said.
Laois TD and Minister Charlie Flanagan welcomed the announcement of funding.
“I want to thank Minister Moran for his fast reaction and his decisive approach to providing funding.
“The funding announcement of €3.1 million is the biggest single investment in Mountmellick in decades.
“It is an investment in the town and in its people. Once the works are completed, the new structures will undoubtedly provide the people of the town with the peace of mind that their business premises and homes will be protected,” he said.
Answering a question from a member of the public about the timeline of the plan, CEO of Laois County Council, John Mulholland, encouraged the Mountmellick community to cooperate with the scheme when it is announced.
“Some of the high priority flood relief schemes in the country have been met by delay due to public concern or observation.
"It is important that the community completely understands what's going to be provided and where possible there is a uniformity within the community and an understanding that it is necessary.
Everybody has a right to make their observations but the more obstacles in the public consultations the more it leads to delay.
"There is an onus on the OPW and ourselves to provide clear messaging to the community. That will be through workshops here and public information, that is part of the design and scheme how we communicate to people and what does it mean for your locality," he said.
Mountmellick flood victim, Maurice Lynch, wants to see action on the plan.
“The budget allocation is great once it is not spent on stupid things like a whole lot of research and not a lot of work. I want to see the plan with the milestones and the execution of the plan,” he said.