The Government is set to sign off on the environmental review which has delayed works on the long awaited €7 million Claregalway Flood Relief Scheme.
That was confirmed to local Deputy Sean Kyne by the Office of Public Works’ Minister, Simon Harris in the Dáil last week. The Galway West Deputy had raised the issue, querying the reasons for the ongoing delay in the scheme.
He was told that progress on all flood relief schemes has been impacted by new EU environmental laws which required national government departments to review environmental impact statements carried out by agencies such as the OPW.
The Claregalway scheme was the first scheme to be submitted under this process, and €2.5 million of that total has already been spent on works.
“As a result of the Claregalway scheme being the first, it is fair to say that it has taken longer than one would wish,” admitted the Junior Minister.
“However, the process in my Department will be completed in October and we are moving towards finalising the evaluation. Being the first, not only was it important to evaluate the Claregalway scheme, but also to put in place a template for further schemes.
“Following completion of the confirmation process by the Minister—assuming that it is a positive decision, the OPW will be in a position to commence works on the scheme in a matter of weeks subject to their being carried out within environmental windows and satisfying any precondition that may be attached to the confirmation process.
“When VAT and future cost fluctuations are taken into account, the total budget for the scheme is €7.1 million, including the approximately €2.5 million that has already been expended,” he added.
The scheme involves localised road raising at Móintach North and Móintach South, and increasing the capacity of culverts at various locations on the Kiniska and Islandmore tributaries in conjunction with channel maintenance.
It also includes the construction of two embankments at the Old Nine Arch Bridge to include filling of the gap in wall at Mhainistir Estate, and one 1.3km upstream of Crusheeny Bridge to the Islandmore drain with the installation of a non-return on the outfall of the Islandmore drain,.
“I am delighted that Minister Harris has confirmed that the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform will sign off on the new Envronmental Impact Assessment this month clearing the way for the works to take place on the River Clare,” said Deputy Kyne.
“The delay to this much-needed project has never been about new obligations placed on member states by the EU Environmental directives.
“The OPW has already spent €2.5 million of the €7.1 million allocation carrying out works with which it could proceed.
“These included the construction of a flood eye at Claregalway bridge, the construction of a new bridge at Crusheeny, and the use of two long-reach machines to remove silt from the bends of the channel and upstream on the Clare River.
“The completion of the project will provide great assurance to the residents and business-owners of the locality,” he added.