A planned programme of drainage works are needed to mitigate against “serious flooding issues” along the River Graney, East Clare representatives have stated.
Funding was sought by Cllr Pat Hayes (FF) to allow a planned programme of drainage works commence at the River Graney and its surrounding catchment area. “Serious flooding issues are a constant in these areas,” he stated.
Senior executive engineer in the Killaloe Municipal District, Tom Mellett flagged that works had been proposed for the river in the 2020 budget but the adopted budget reduced the drainage allocation by €44,000 and resulted in the removal of the section. He said that the river would be put forward for works in the 2021 programme but cautioned, “it will require an increase in the drainage budget to enable the works to proceed”.
No work has taken place at the River Graney “in a long time,” Cllr Hayes noted. He lambasted money set aside for improvements being removed. Winter periods result in ‘constant flooding’ along the river, he said. “We need to grab the bull by the horn or we will have to start raising roads to avoid issues of flooding”. The Cathaoirleach of the Killaloe MD highlighted that fishing, boating and kayaking opportunities exist along the river, “it is a wonderful place linking communities”.
Agreement on the damage of flooding was echoed by Cllr Joe Cooney (FG). “We can all see what is happening with climate change, we are getting severe weather at different times of the year”. He continued, “The local authority don’t have the funding to clean the rivers. A lot more funding will have to go into dredging and cleaning rivers. Since the recession came back, little or no funding has gone back into that area. We’re in Government together, now is the time to be putting extra pressure on Oireachtas members to get the funding to get the works done. Some of the flooding is outrageous on land and roads”.
Inconsistency regarding the functions of the Office of Public Works and rivers was voiced by Cllr Pat Burke (FG). “The OPW are doing great work in a certain river in Galway but are not responsible for any rivers in the Killaloe Municipal District. If the OPW are not responsible for maintenance of rivers, then surely funding should be provided. It is disappointing that some rivers are cleaned by the OPW but then a river like the Graney is the responsibility of the Council”.
Landowners are “typically” responsible for drainage on their property, Mellett responded and recalled that similar works were carried out on a lower catchment area “unsuccessfully”.