Legal uncertainty delays River Clare drainage scheme

Progress on the River Clare drainage scheme in the Claregalway area is being delayed due to the uncertainty surrounding new legislation passed to comply with EU Directives.

The delay is causing concern for local residents as the area is prone to flooding and in 2009 floods caused serious and extensive damage to homes and property in the region.

The scheme received planning approval in February and funding was also allocated. However, the Department of Public Expenditure raised concerns regarding drainage schemes and a 2012 piece of legislation, introduced to comply with EU Directives, which has led to uncertainty over whether environmental impact assessments associated with such infrastructure projects need to be carried out independently by the Department.

The delay has been described as “disappointing” by Fine Gael Galway West TD Seán Kyne, who said the River Clare drainage scheme was “a vital project for the Claregalway area”. He added though that the current legal issues do not affect either the planning permission or funding for the project.

“EU Environmental Directives are often important measures aimed at conservation and protection,” he said, “but it’s clear in this case that the directives have created unnecessary uncertainty and are now delaying vital works.”

Dep Kyne has spoken with the Minister of State for the Office of Public Works, Simon Harris, about the issue and has sought Dáil speaking time on the matter.

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