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Council engineers don’t expect further delays to granting of Springfield flood defence works

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*Flooding at Springfield in Clonlara.

No further delays to the approval of flood defence works at Springfield in Clonlara are expected, leading engineers in Clare County Council have outlined.

As first reported by The Clare Echo in June, the decision on whether a flood relief programme for Springfield would proceed is to be made by An Bord Pleanála and not Clare County Council.

Very severe flooding occurred along the lower River Shannon basin with a particularly severe effect on the houses in Springfield in 2002, 2009, 2015 and in February of this year. The areas has previously been described as “a warzone with water”.

A planning application was submitted by the County Council to An Bord Pleanála in July. The scheme which is expected to cost in the region of €1.2m involves the construction of a flood protection embankment, land raising, penstock/sluice, pump station and associated works. ABP will consider any submissions received before deciding on an outcome.

Chief Executive of the local authority, Pat Dowling in his monthly management report stated, “A timely decision would be welcome given that, following discussion with the OPW, it has been agreed that the OPW Regional Direct Labour staff would construct the works, thereby negating the need for a drawn-out procurement competition which will allow earlier construction on site, which is very good news indeed”.

Clare County Council and consultant engineers are currently progressing the detailed design stage. “The next step involves ground investigation and structural design. We continue to liaise with local residents and landowners in the area,” Dowling added.

Clonlara representative, Cllr Michael Begley (IND), speaking at the September meeting of the County Council queried if a Section 50 declaration was required and whether it had been applied to the OPW. “I am glad to see things progressing,” he commented.

Sean Lenihan, a senior engineer with the Council noted that a Section 50 was required when a bridge or culvert was to be created in water. He confirmed that they were working in collaboration with the OPW. “We are at a very advanced state. We will hit the ground running once we get a decision from An Bord Pleanála. I don’t foresee any delays,” Lenihan said.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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