South Mayo flooding solution hampered by ‘most important turlough in Ireland’

Finding a solution to the flooding problems in south Mayo have proved tricky over the past number of years. And while proposals have been put forward, it seems there is still no solution in place.

In a letter from the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to Deputy Michael Ring, the Department has outlined the complexities involved in reaching a suitable drainage solution.

Deputy Ring once again raised the issue in the Dáil highlighting the urgent need for flood mitigation works in the Roundford and Hollymount areas.

Minister John Gormley confirmed that proposals have been received from the Office of Public Works concerning its intention to undertake work to alleviate flooding in that area which is part of the Kilglassan/Caheravoosita turlough complex SAC which is under the EU Habitats Directive.

According to the Minister turloughs or lakes which disappear for part of the year are a unique feature of Ireland and are an important part of our natural heritage. They are among the most distinctive of Ireland’s semi-natural landscapes and many are of international importance.

This particular complex in south Mayo is one of the most important turloughs in the country as it is relatively large with considerable habitat diversity, the Minister has outlined.

The problem with finding a drainage solution for this part of south Mayo is difficult then because Ireland is required under the Habitats Directive to protect this unique complex.

Dep Ring was informed that in the case of the OPW proposals the Department’s role is to advise on the assessment of the impacts of the proposed works as they relate to the habitats and species in the SAC.

Protection of the SAC habitat and species is a priority, the deputy was informed.

An assessment of the area has been completed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service which will meet with the OPW in order to arrive at a solution. However, this solution must not adversely impact on the turloughs, the Minister has warned.

“This work is desperately needed to resolve the extensive flooding in Roundfort and Hollymount,” Dep Ring replied. “It is an issue that I have been working on for a long time with the residents and department officials. This week I again raised it with Minister John Gormley, I will be keeping the pressure on in order to make certain that the work is carried out.”

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