Fianna Fáil TD for Galway East Anne Rabbitte has accused the Minister for Flooding Sean Canney of trying to sidestep serious flooding issues in south Galway. Galway County Council has been liaising with the Office of Public Works in an attempt to devise a flood relief plan, however there has been no confirmation of a strategy for the Gort Lowlands.
Deputy Rabbitte explained, “This is an extremely serious issue for people living in Gort and the surrounding areas but the Minister is taking a hands off approach. He has failed to show any interest in developing a plan choosing to talk about a “possible flood relief scheme” and a “potential scheme” rather than committing to a concrete plan.
“Despite claiming that his Department will “provide any technical assistance that GCC may require” he later concedes that the OPW will only “consider any request from the Council for funding to procure the services of a project engineer”, and all of this is “subject to a viable scheme emerging which is both cost beneficial and environmentally acceptable”.
“This is the ultimate time delaying tactic. As the plan falls between Galway County Council and the OPW, it will get pushed further and further down the line, and residents and farmers living in south Galway will continue to suffer when the flood waters hit. There are some farmers who still have not fully repaired the damage done during last winter’s floods and are living in fear of a repeat of this level of flooding this year.
“Despite a series of promises, this Government has failed the people of south Galway. The Minister has been able to waive some of the planning criteria for other flood relief plans but is refusing to do so in this instance. This is deeply unfair, and is a damning indictment of the priorities of this Minister and this Government”.