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26 May 2022

Mountmellick to Portarlington River Barrow clearance work could be two years away

A flood on the Barrow Bridge in Portarlington in 2017. Photo: Michael Scully.

A flood on the Barrow Bridge in Portarlington in 2017. Photo: Michael Scully.

It will be at least two years before planned River Barrow clearance work can be carried out on the Mountmellick side of Portarlington but 10 km of the river is set to be cleared downstream this year.

So it emerged recently after Cllr Aidan Mullins said he walked the River Barrow between Mountmellick and Portnahinch near Portarlington Golf Club. A member of the local angling club highlighted several potential blockages on the river.

"The trees are meeting in the middle of the river," he said. 

He asked a Laois County Council engineer when river maintenance would be carried out upstream of Portarlington and if there is a plan for the stretch.

In reply Mr Philip McVeigh, Senior Executive Engineer, said a five year maintenance plan would see work carried out downstream of Portarlington in 2022. The 10 km stretch would see silt and bank vegetation removed from the river being cleared between the M7 and the Laois Offaly town.

As for upstream, he said blockages could be cleared under an emergency work programme. However, he added it is not included in the existing five year plan.

The engineer expected that it would be included in the next plan which has another two years to run.

The issue was raised at the recent Portarlington Graiguecullen Municipal District meeting.

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