A major study and various interim measures are to be take over the coming weeks to assess the level of damage caused by the recent floods and to ensure that such damage does not recur.
A working group has been set up with representatives from the OPW and the Galway County Council and it has identified numerous actions to be taken.
An initial allocation of €6 million has been made available by the Office of Public Works for studies and minor works to address localised flooding and coastal erosion problems.
The OPW has been in constant contact with the Galway County Council on the effects of the recent flooding on county Galway. The Minister for OPW Dr Martin Mansergh has said that the flooding experienced in Galway “was the worst he witnessed around the country”.
The Minister for the Environment John Gormley has also asked the county council to report to him on the effects of the flooding with proposals for what steps can be taken to reduce the risk of such flooding in the future.
The works and measures the OPW and the county council plan to take are the following:
In Ballinasloe, interim measures are to be taken to identify and mitigate flood risk. Ballinasloe is also to be included as an area of significant risk in the strategic Shannon Catchment Flood Risk Management Area study, with a view to identifying options for the development of a flood relief scheme.
A review will be conducted into the recommendations in the 1997 South Galway Flood Report. An examination of the recent floods will be undertaken to identify if flood risk in the south Galway area has significantly changed from the previous flooding. There will also be continued examination of individual areas to identify possible local relief measures.
A joint inspection including video camera survey of culverting and walkover survey of Gort River with a view to identifying mitigation measures will take place.
In Dunkellin and Craughwell, programmes of maintenance and improvement works have been identified by the committee. The OPW will undertake these works on behalf of the Galway County Council. The interim measures to mitigate flood risks in the Killeely, Dunkellin, Rhinn, Rahasane, Craughwell, Aggard, Monksfield, Cregaclare, Shantallow, and Lacken areas will also be carried out.
Other areas where flooding has occurred will be assessed also, and interim mitigation measures will be brought forward as minor works to be carried out by Galway County Council, with funding from the OPW.
A catchment flood risk management study of the greater Shannon region will also be carried out in the next few months.
The measures to be identified as part of the overall study will include managing the water level regime on the river as well as protection in some areas, the development of a flood forecasting system and the use of the cutover bogs for flood storage.
The news has been welcomed by Fianna Fáil Galway East TD Noel Treacy, who added that a €10 million Humanitarian Assistance Scheme has been established and he is encouraging people affected by the flooding to investigate their eligibility under the scheme.
“People seeking assistance should contact their local community welfare,” he said, “or my office directly where I will be delighted to assist them in any way I can.”