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*FILE PIC: Spot flooding on the Tulla Rd in Ennis.

Provision of screens to prevent blockages along the Tulla Rd could lead to “devastating consequences,” a Council engineer has warned.

Flooding at Aughavaddy on the Tulla Rd and Gaurus Bridge was referenced by Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) and Cllr Mary Howard (FG) in separate motions put before the Ennis Municipal District on Tuesday.

Citing “historic flooding” of the R352 on the Tulla Rd plus previous flow blockages and restrictions at Aughavadda, Cllr Flynn asked that screens be provided immediately “to prevent blockages resulting in restriction of flow of the Ballymachill river at these bridges”.

Regular cleaning of the culvert at Aughavaddy culvert was requested by Cllr Howard who highlighted, “there is also evidence of dumping in the stream thus blocking the two pipes which are approximately only 3 feet in diameter”.

Executive engineer, Barry Conway confirmed that maintenance and clearance works would be arranged at both the upstream and downstream sides of both bridges prior to the winter months and to implement a regular inspection schedule throughout the winter.

He cautioned that installing screens would require “careful consideration as they can often times create bigger issues than they resolve. This is of particular concern in times of high intensity rainfall which can mobilise large quantities of relatively small debris which can clog the screens. There have been recent examples of this happening in Donegal and Dublin with devastating consequences”.

An “inadequacy” of the bridge structure to handle the flow of water let to six days of flooding in 2009, Cllr Flynn stated. Recollections of sandbags being put in cars in 2009 was also recalled by Cllr Howard who relayed the concerns of residents on the Tulla Rd that the proposed Ennis Data Centre could impact on the water flow.

Mayor of Ennis, Cllr Ann Norton (IND) intervened when the €1.2bn development was mentioned, “due to the fact that planning permission is going through, we have to be very careful and concentrate on the motion,” she commented. “I am not a civil engineer, I don’t know what effect it will have but something proposed up the road has caused a little worry for them,” Howard replied.

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