Posted by Lorraine O'Hanlon, Galway Independent in Features.

The photos in this post were taken during the floods in Claregalway in November 2009. For more, see our album on facebook.

Almost four years on from the catastrophic floods that hit Claregalway in 2009, local residents are again facing into a winter of uncertainty with flood relief works yet to be undertaken in the area.

Carnmore resident and flooding victim Danny Potter told the Galway Independent this week that extreme weather could result in homes being threatened by flood waters again, as a series of proposed alleviation measures have yet to be carried out by the Office of Public Works.

“We are still going into this winter threatened again. If we have extreme weather, we could be flooded again… We have been lucky in that the weather has been fine so far but three weeks rain and we would be back to square one,” said Mr. Potter.

Mr. Potter and his family were forced from their home for six months after being hit by floods in November 2009. “There was water in our house for two weeks, two foot of water in the three homes here.  One of them has been knocked since,” he said.

Adding that an additional seven or eight houses in the area had been threatened by the floods at the time, he stressed that flood risk insurance cover has been affected for homes in the area. “It’s a big threat now all the time, especially coming into winter,” said Mr. Potter.

It is hoped that a series of flood relief works due to be carried out under the Claregalway Flood Relief Scheme will aid home-owners in the area, but with the exception of an additional flood eye at Claregalway Bridge and construction of a new bridge at Crusheeny, these have yet to begin.

“There’s no pipe or any sign of any works starting… This was the finest summer you ever had; the river was never any lower if they wanted to do work on it to clean it and all that. And they have nothing done,” said Mr. Potter.

This has been echoed by local Cllr. Jim Cuddy. “At Caherlea, Claregalway, Carnmore and Montiach, those four areas… there’s drainage works that need to be done and none of it has been done yet, after nearly four years since the flooding.

Suggesting that the delay lies with Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin, Cllr Cuddy said, “Nothing will happen unless he releases the necessary finance to do the work and meanwhile you have these people in these areas that were flooded, they’re worried are they going to get flooded again, which is  a very natural thing.”

“People have spent a considerable amount of money refurbishing their house as a result of the flooding and they’re wondering if it’s going to all be for nought.”

Responding to a query from the Galway Independent, a spokesperson for the OPW said major flood relief schemes involve complex engineering and construction operations “which inevitably involve lengthy lead-in times”.

She said the OPW would “shortly” seek the required statutory formal sanction of the Minister Howlin for the Claregalway Flood Relief Scheme, details of which first went on public display in January. The proposed scheme primarily involves localised road raising at Miontach North and Miontach South, ‘accelerated’ channel maintenance from Lough Corrib to Curraghmore Bridge, an increase in the capacity of culverts at various locations on the channels, the provision of some additional local drains together with upgrading existing culverts and drains, the provisions of two embankments and 100 metre of floodwall, as well as channel widening works for a distance of 1.2km.

“The OPW expects to commence the main scheme works this year in areas that do not have particular environmental or weather restraints, subject to approval being given by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to proceed with the scheme,” said the spokesperson.