Independent TD for Longford-Westmeath, Deputy Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, is urging the public to have their say on draft Flood Risk Management Plans, released for public consultation last Friday, July 15.
The public consultation period will run for 10 weeks until Friday, September 23. Copies of the draft plans, related environmental assessments, and an information leaflet, will also be available at the principal offices of each local authority. Observations or comments must be made directly in writing to the Office of Public Works (OPW ) or via the email address [email protected].
“I would strongly urge the public to view the draft plans and to have their voices heard,” said Deputy Moran. “Following the public consultation process, the draft plans will be finalised, taking on board the comments received, and will be then sent to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform for approval.
“If approved, they will then be sent to the local authorities who may adopt them. A national prioritised list of flood risk management measures has not been developed as this can only be finalised when comments submitted during the consultation process have been taken account of.
“This country faces an enormous challenge in the years ahead in addressing the risk of flooding which continues to threaten many towns, villages, and communities throughout the country. This matter is a major priority for me and I would urge as many people as possible to participate in this consultation process.”
Deputy Moran said that work on the development and progression of a flood relief scheme for Athlone by Westmeath County Council is now underway: “I have been working very closely with Minister for State at the OPW, Deputy Sean Canney, who has immediately recognised the difficulty in the length of time in progressing flood relief projects from inception to construction stage. The process on average is seven years, which the Minister and I consider unacceptable.
“Minister Canney convened a meeting of the Ministers with responsibilities for the planning, procurement, and environmental issues to review procedures and develop new initiatives to reduce this timeframe. Ministers Coveney and Humphreys and Minister of State Eoghan Murphy are fully supportive of this initiative and have made full resources available to achieve these objectives.
“Both Minister Canney and I are confident that the Department will be in a position to bring forward a more streamlined process for the delivery of flood relief projects. There will also be an implementation group to monitor progress on all flood relief projects.”
Details of the consultation are available on the dedicated consultation website www.opw.ie/FloodPlans