*Ducks in the River Fergus. Photograph: John Mangan
An audit of flooding patterns along parts of the River Fergus has been requested by a North Clare representative while an Ennis councillor has warned the work of flood relief schemes is at risk of being lost.
In a bid to identify flooding patterns and pinch points of the River Fergus in Corofin, Ruan and Ennis, Cllr Joe Killeen (FF) requested Clare County Council to conduct an audit in conjunction with relevant parties.
He believed this would highlight the need to undertake remediation measures such as “controlled dredging of the congested silt-filled blockages to release the water and reduce the flooding of farmlands and roadways” in the Upper Fergus area. The motion was seconded by Cllr Joe Garrihy (FG).
Senior engineer, John Leahy noted that the area outlined was part of the Fergus Drainage District and is predominantly in the West Clare Municipal District with a section in the Ennis Municipal District. “The Fergus drainage district extends from Boston/Tubber and Kilfenora through Corofin to Ennis”.
Leahy advised, “We need to be mindful that any works being considered as a benefit in one location could potentially have negative impacts at downstream locations and could affect flow patterns in Ennis town. Standard maintenance work such as clearance of vegetation adjacent to culverts can be carried out following strict assessments and discussion”.
This year, the Clare Drainage Grant doubled from year to almost €900,000 in an allocation from the Department of Transport, he stated. This has enabled drainage maintenance work to be completed, Leahy said. “Further funding has been allocated in the July Stimulus package for Clare and a fund of almost €2m has been received for Climate Action and Active Travel work,” which he said would resolve many “longstanding drainage problems”. The funding is expected to be forthcoming in 2021 and 2022.
“Weather events cost the Irish tax payer €3m last year, half of that was from flooding,” Cllr Killeen commented. Road closures have been frequent in Tubber, Boston and Corofin as a result of flooding, “this cannot continue indefinitely”.
Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) believed the motion highlighted the need to re-establish the Fergus Drainage Committee. “The Fergus is in serious condition particularly going upstream from Ennis”. Relocating the Clarecastle Barrage needed to be considered, he felt. “We need to do a very urgent review of the structure and stability of it, if it collapsed it would undermine everything done in flood relief schemes in Ennis”.