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*Flooding at Springfield in Clonlara. Photograph: Brian Gavin Press 22

Construction of embankments at Springfield in Clonlara has been dealt with a further delay.

An additional minor delay has been experienced by Springfield residents who have been forced out of their homes multiple times due to flooding over the past fifteen years.

Planning for flood protection works began in early 2016, after more than 10 families had to evacuate their properties and a further five had their access roads completely cut off. Proposed €1.2m works which involves the construction of a flood protection embankment, land raising, penstock/sluice, pump station and associated works were approved by An Bord Pleanála in November.

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 2020.

In April, a consultant hydro geologist was on site at Springfield to carry out works related to karst features and connectivity. The findings from this report is to be submitted to Clare County Council this Friday with consultants requiring a week to examine this and revert to the local authority with any recommendations.

Consultants for the project have completed the general and particular specifications for the works. 90% of the drawings are now prepared and a Preliminary Health and Safety Plan is being worked on.

A series of twelve trial holes were recently carried out by the Council at various locations around Spingfield with samples taken to ensure the proposed design was fit for purpose.

Further clarification has to be issued by Clare County Council to the Office of Public Works (OPW) following the submission of Section 50 of the Arterial Drainage Act.

As of recent weeks, Clare County Council’s project management office remained in negotiations with landowners to acquire lands necessary to construct the embankments.

Construction of the embankments was due to begin at the end of May and is set to last for a six month period according to the local authority. The start date as of yet is unclear as the hydrologist’s report has yet to be analysed.

Cllr Michael Begley (IND) admitted he was “a bit concerned” that the negotiations had slowed down the works. The construction was due to begin at the end of April but were postponed one month”.

Carmel Kirby, Director of Service outlined that “additional” work was followed with landowners “to ensure” no knock-on effects would occur regarding the scheme’s design. “There is a short delay with additional design work to be done to get the project to deliver the desired result,” she stated.

Speaking on Monday, Cllr Begley sought detail on a revised timeframe from the local authority as a result of the extra delay.

Chief Executive, Pat Dowling acknowledged that “a particular matter has arisen” and that the outcome of the reports would provide required information. “It is a top priority for us to try speed it up”.

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