Construction on flood defences for Crossmolina must begin next summer, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Mayo Senator Michelle Mulherin has put pressure on the Office of Public Works to fast-track the delivery of the much needed bypass channel so that people will not face two winters without flood defences.
Senator Mulherin said: "I have pressed for commitment that we will see construction of the much needed bypass channel for the town completed next year so people will not face two winters without flood defences.
"Speaking before the Climate Action Committee, I outlined that the funding is secured and available and pressed the OPW for progress, setting out my concern as to how long it is taking to get through the planning process towards construction.
"The OPW’s initial timeline of approval for the works by the fourth quarter of 2019 was a cause for concern. It would be very unlikely that they would start doing works in the middle of winter and I believe they would then be put back until spring at the earliest.
"We would then have this threat of flooding hanging over people for two winters. The OPW have now told me that they hope construction will begin in mid-2019.
"This is very welcome news and I will continue to put pressure on the OPW to ensure this important work is carried out as soon as possible.
"Local people are very anxious and frustrated. The week before last there was almost a flooding event. I acknowledged the minor works schemes put in place, in particular the fitting of non-return valves and individual floodgates for premises in the centre of town, as well as the efforts of locals, but there are homes and businesses in the centre of town that had been destroyed in the past and do not have flood insurance.
"The OPW’s previous timeline of commencing construction in late 2019 was not good enough and I hope the commitment of the new, earlier construction date will help give some peace of mind to homes and businesses in the area."