Flooding on Spa St Portarlington. Pic: Michael Scully
Three Laois towns are to get over €9 million of flood prevention works in the next three years.
Portarlington where some streets near the River Barrow including Spa Street (pictured) are regularly flooded, will get €5.6 million in flood defences built by 2023.
Mountmellick which was badly flooded in 2017, will get €3.2million of flood walls and other structures to protect homes in the future.
Clonaslee village on the foot of the Slieve Bloom mountains is to get €390,000 for its Flood Relief Scheme.
All the money is provided in state grants. Laois County Council plans to spend another €750,000 on various minor works around Laois by 2023, with the Office of Public Works paying for €637k of that.
However a Laois councillor says the works won’t “get to the bottom of the problem”.
Cllr Aisling Moran is calling for a return to the old method of dredging rivers, a process which is rarely done now and requires multiple environmental permits due to its effect on riverlife.
“We have nearly €10 million to be spent on flood relief but we need to get to the bottom of the problem. If you fill a bath, then you fill it with silt and weeds the water will flood out. We need to clean the rivers,” she said.
Director of Services Simon Walton responded to her comment, made at Laois County Council’s meeting to announce its €130 million capital spending programme up to 2023.
“We are engaged in getting consents to go in and remove silt. Flood maintenance alone will not solve the flood problems in those towns. It requires a combination of flood relief programmes and maintenance works,” Mr Walton said.