The River Clare Drainage Scheme will be carried out directly by the OPW workforce in order to minimise any further delays to the much-needed flood relief works in the Claregalway area.
Progress on the River Clare Drainage Scheme in the Claregalway area has being delayed because of new requirements placed on the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to review Environmental Impact Assessments carried out by the OPW. These requirements stem from secondary legislation which was passed in 2012 in order to comply with EU Environmental Directives.
Speaking after he had raised the matter in the Dáil, Galway West Fine Gael TD Seán Kyne commented:
“Minister Harris expressed his confidence in the Dáil that the River Clare Drainage Scheme will be found to be environmentally acceptable and in compliance with the EU rules and assured me that the works will commence as soon as the review is complete.
“The Drainage Scheme in Claregalway is the first in the State to proceed following the new regulations and while there is a view, correctly and sincerely held that this is ‘bureaucracy gone mad’, I’m encouraged by Minister Harris’s reassurances that the delay is absolutely not a question of funding.
“The €7.1 million of funding is in place and is included in the OPW’s Capital Expenditure Budget. Furthermore, because of the delay in these vital works the Minister added that he has directed his officials in the OPW to put in place interim flood relief measures. These include the installation of two long-reach machines to remove silt from the Clare River channels between Lough Corrib and Claregalway.
“By carrying out the Drainage Scheme directly by using its own workforce the OPW will save time and ensure this vital drainage scheme and associated flood defence works will proceed as soon as the review is complete,” concluded Deputy Kyne.