FARMERS in the River Graney catchment area have been unable to use their land due to persistent flooding challenges.
By Adam Maloney
A long-term programme to address flooding in the River Graney catchment area was sought by Cllr Pat Hayes (FF) at a sitting of the Killaloe Municipal District. He cited “frequent road closures and the noticeable expansion of floodplains this autumn show the urgent need for immediate attention”.
Senior planner with Clare County Council, Brian McCarthy who is also co-ordinator with the Killaloe MD responded, “Clare County Council are aware of the challenges from the River Graney and its flood plains. We have reviewed flood locations on our road network adjacent to the River Graney floodplains. We have identified and submitted works to be carried out at Ayle Upper on the L-8056 under our proposals for 2024 Climate Change Adaption and Resilience Works Programme where the road surface has flooded a number of times in 2023. The works will include raising of the existing road network and drainage works adjacent to the L-8056”.
McCarthy advised that €204,300 was allocated to the Killaloe MD this year for drainage works. “This funding grant has remained unchanged for several years. The primary focus of this funding is to deal with remediation and improvement of defective drainage systems, to help increase the longevity of road surface integrity. This funding can also be used to deal with off-road drainage issues such as catchments that are not functioning as effectively as they should”.
Speaking at the November meeting, Cllr Hayes commented, “I think this is unfortunate for the people who live in this huge catchment area, I brought up the issue last week in relation to the closure of a road on four different occasions, we’ve had another closure in another particular area in this catchment since. We don’t have a proper management plan in how we deal with this, and you always think about the social, the farmers, and the people who live there, and the idea that this will actually put in an investigation of the area, such as measuring roads”.
Hayes was not content with McCarthy’s written reply which was longer than a page and a half. “There is a lot of a response here. It just shows to me the lack of control we have to actually deal with this. I’m reasonably disappointed. I’ve raised this over the last while, we either abandon this idea that we can actually deal with it or we appoint formula’s to actually address it. The next place that will be flooded will be Flagmount, Maghera, and other villages will have a backlog of this because this is going nowhere at the moment”.
Support was voiced by Cllr Pat Burke (FG), Cllr Joe Cooney (FG) and Cllr Tony O’Brien (FF). O’Brien noted, “It is probably too late to do anything this winter, but we’ll try and hopefully get something put in place and done in the long term”.
Funding allocations are not being spent, Cllr Hayes felt. “I know we’ve had a particular wet autumn, but at the same time there’s been abandonment, and we’ve €15,000 or €20,000 allocated every year, we just do not spend to the level”.
He continued, “I know a farmer whose had cattle inside for the last three months, he has grass, and silage but he just can’t use his land. And I don’t think as a council that we should abandon that; we should be a leader in trying to find formulas. I’m not asking for major works to be done, but for a formula to be dealt with and a plan of action be put forward”.