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Vital Shannon Flood Relief Scheme expected to take 2-3 years

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*2014 flooding at Shannon Golf Club. Photograph: Joe Buckley

A necessary flood relief scheme for Shannon that will protect an estimated 30,000 people is expected to take two to three years to complete.

Senior engineer with Clare County Council, Sean Lenihan briefed Shannon Municipal District councillors at their January meeting. He outlined the latest update on the Shannon & Environs Flood Relief Scheme.

Following on from the flood risk management plan for Shannon Town, it was suggested to construct new walls, embankments, flow diversion, online storage areas and the replacement of two culverts. “Critically given the Town and Airport are hydraulically linked, CFRAMs recommended that the Estuarial Embankments would also need to be considered,” Lenihan highlighted. Subsequently, Clare County Council, the OPW and Shannon Airport collaborated to progress the survey and assessment of works required along the embankments.

Tomorrow (Friday) marks the closing date of tender applications for the scheme. The local authority is confident of appointing consultants by the end of February with a steering group meeting to be held a fortnight after the appointment. “We would expect to submit for planning in early 2023 with construction expected to take two to three years following the grant of planning permission”. Described as “a major capital investment in the area,” its cost is expected to be in the region of €26m.

Cathaoirleach of the Shannon MD, Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND) recalled the wrath candidates faced on the doors regarding grass cutting prior to last year’s local elections. “Last year they were more interested in the grass than the large projects into the future that matter to people’s lives, this covers employment, the industrial estate and the town of Shannon”. He added, “What focused the mind was the inclement weather in 2014 when water breached the embankment and destroyed part of the Airport and did a lot of damage to the golf club”.

“This will give a lot of relief to the airport authority and the people in the Shannon area. It will help the people of Shannon get proper insurance cover,” Cllr PJ Ryan (IND) felt. It has taken four years for consultants to be appointed in Springfield, Clonlara, Cllr Michael Begley (IND) warned the meeting.

Recalling the extreme weather of 2014, Cllr Pat McMahon (FF) witnessed the damage at Shannon first hand whilst dropping a family member to work. “I could envisage the worst scenario of the Airport and the town being flooded, brought home to me a scenario that could happen in the future. When you see it first hand at 5am it has a massive impression. Officials have ran with the ball and made it a cause célèbre. We couldn’t be seen to delay and not be upfront in making our concerns known to the powers that be in a huge way. We’re talking about the bones of 30,000 people being affected on daily basis”.

Praise was extended to Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran by Cllr John Crowe (FG). “There is a massive danger when you have an International Airport, Industrial Estate and a town at risk. The day the Minister came down he saw himself the dangers that were there, I’m delighted he has followed through”.

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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