Five years more to build flood defences in Laois towns

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

flooding mountmellick

Height of the Mountmellick floods. Pic: Kevin Byrne

It will take five years to build flood defences in Mountmellick and more than than for Portarlington in Laois.

Almost two years since the Mountmellick flood that damaged over 100 homes in November 2017, Laois County Council has confirmed that it will be five years before flood defences are finished in the town.

Plans for Portarlington’s defences against the Barrow River are six months further down the track, with construction periods expected to be overlap in both towns.

The council announced a detailed timeline for the multi million flood defence systems at the September meeting.

CEO John Mulholland has confirmed that in Mountmellick construction will start in August 2022, and be complete by December 2023. 

The project handover of the project will take place by December 2024.

“The design of flood defences never comes easy. Communities have concerns. In resolving floods the issue is making sure you don’t create a downstream issue somewhere else,” Mr Mulholland said.

Stage one for Mountmellick to form a preliminary design is already underway. It will last until December 2020. Stage two of planning will take another year to complete by November 2021. Stage three is the detailed design, confirmation and tender, to be done by August 2022. After that construction can start.

“The date seems a long way out but at least we have progress,” commented Cllr Paddy Bracken from Mountmellick.

Mountmellick is top of the list for six Laois Flood Relief Schemes.

In Portarlington the first step is writing a brief to appoint engineering and environmental consultants, now underway. This will go to the OPW Framework of Consultants for schemes over €5 million. An agreement will be signed with Offaly County Council for Laois to be the lead authority for the scheme. 

Paul McLoughlin is the engineer overseeing the schemes.

“We hope to get to site in Portarlington no later than 2023. There will possibly be under construction at the same time. They are quite detailed schemes. They are proceeding as quickly as they can be,” he said.

Clonaslee has approval from the Office of Public Works for a minor project worth €390,000.

Mountrath is in the top five schemes nationally deemed to require further assessment by the OPW before funding is granted. A minor project is being considered by the OPW to deal with flooding on Shannon Street in the shorter term.

Other minor schemes around Laois are in Clonterry, Cloncannon Upper and Lower, Cloncough Kilbricken and Inchycooley.

Rathdowney must wait for a second round of funding as it is not in the top 50 schemes around Ireland. It is one of 118 schemes waiting for funding under the National Development Plan for flood relief measures.