Grealish calls for OPW study to prevent future flooding

Drainage work on the Clare River could have ‘prevented flooding’

A “comprehensive study” of why so many houses in east Galway were flooded must be conducted so informed action can be taken to prevent such devastation from happening again.

This is the view of Independent Galway West TD Noel Grealish, who has called on the Office of Public Works to carry out the study.

He also wants the OPW to give “assurances” to flood victims that “every action is going to be taken” by the relevant authorities to prevent future flooding before people “begin spending money refurbishing their homes”.

“Many people I have spoken to in the last week,” he said, “are genuinely concerned that if they refurbish their homes the same thing could happen again in the near future.”

Dep Grealish has now been assured by the OPW that the study is being carried out “as a matter of urgency”, and that the OPW will be in a position to meet with local homeowners and farmers before Christmas to outline a plan to deal with the situation.

Meanwhile the three North West MEPs - Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher, Marian Harkin, and Jim Higgins - recently took an aerial trip over the constituency to view the full extent of the flood damage.

Having completed their tour the MEPs now propose to meet further with the EU Commission and will be recommending that the Air Corps should facilitate the efforts by EU officials to view the damage.

The MEPs are confident the Government application for Solidarity Funding or funding from other sources to help with the flood relief will be favourably considered in Brussels because of the extent and cost of the damage.

Deputy Grealish also feels that if the National Parks and Wildlife Service had allowed drainage work on the Clare River, some of last week’s flooding could have been prevented.

He has accused the National Parks and Wildlife Service of having prevented the outline cleaning and drainage of rivers, particularly the Clare River.

The river is a salmonoid river and drainage work on it could potentially damage fish stocks, local wildlife, and vegetation. However Dep Grealish said if routine cleaning had been carried out it “would certainly have improved drainage and prevented homes flooding” during the past week.

“We must ensure that people’s homes and livelihoods come before any other issues,” he said. “We must ensure everything that can be done, is done to prevent future devastation of people’s homes and farmlands.”

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