Councillors in the West Mayo Municipal District were left perplexed last week, when they were informed that it took the Office of Public Works two and a half years to come back with questions to Mayo County Council on a report for flood defence works in Carrowholly.
After the serious flooding of early 2014 the council, carried out an extensive flood study to come up with a solution to the issue that saw flooding of homes in Rosmindle, between Carrowholly and Kilmeena, and roads cut off in the area.
Outlining the current situation, Padraic Walsh, head of West Mayo Municipal District, said the council would have expected the OPW to come back with questions much sooner than it did: "What surprised us most was that the issues that were raised with us recently, were two and half years after the study. We would have expected that it would have been raised in the immediate months after the study had been submitted, and not two and half years later."
He also told the meeting that during the preparation of the survey, numerous members of the OPW were involved in it being completed: "When we submitted the flood study two and a half years ago, it went through a whole series of departments and personal in the OPW over a period of time.
"They all commented, they all raised issues over that time frame which were dealt with by us and our consultants, and the point I am making is, there are now issues being raised two and a half years later, which fundamentally question the basis of the flood study that we would have hoped might have been highlighted two or more years ago."
The main area of concern for the OPW in the plan, according to Walsh, was the inclusion of flood defence works for the roads in the areas, along with defence works for the houses under threat: "The main issue that is being raised is that there is a query over whether the works that will safeguard roads and the flooding of roads should be included in the study. You will recall there was a lot of land flooding, roads flooded, and communities cut off for a long period of time, and there was a threat to houses and a house flooded."
Independent councillor Christy Hyland said not putting flood defences in place to protect the road and stop people getting cut off was ludicrous: "It appears now we are going to have to go to all the houses there and say we will build a flood defence around your house, and we'll leave the road to go and swim. That's what I'm picking up.
"The focus of the project should be on houses now and not on the road, which is cracked now [the road], this is unbelievable."
Mr Walsh said the council hoped to have a meeting with the OPW before the next meeting of the municipal district, but added there would still be a lengthy lead in period to any works being carried out in the area: "The situation we are in, no matter what work has been done, because of the ecology and the impact on it, we will have to go to An Bord Pleanala for permission, so there is still a lead in time and a lengthy one before any works take place."