Councillors demand action on Carrowholly flood defences

With the one year anniversary of the serious flooding that affected parts of the county, councillors from the West Mayo Municipal District have expressed their disappointment that works still have not been carried out on one of the worst affected areas in Carrowholly. Independent councillor Christy Hyland said at this week’s meeting of the municipal district: “I’ll be very honest, the people feel abandoned by this council and I can’t emphasise it strongly enough. They feel totally abandoned. They were looking out last Friday morning at 7.30am at a 5m tide, I just wonder if there was a big wind what would have happened.”

Senior engineer for Mayo County Council, Padraig Walsh, had told the meeting that the council expected to shortly get sight of a flood study in draft form on the area from consultants, and that would feed into the solutions for the problem. He also said that they hoped the work would be done this year as the money that was earmarked for the works last year has been rolled over into 2015.

Fianna Fáil councillor Brendan Mulroy said he had never faced the public anger like he had from the people in Carrowholly over the issues there. He said: “I understand there’s money ringfenced and the council have to wait until the study is completed. But the amount of anger, I haven’t faced it before in 15 years as a public representative. I don’t know who is to blame, I know the study has to be done and you have to get it right. But in the meantime over Christmas a house didn’t flood only because of a boundary the guy who owned the house had put around it himself with the help of neighbours. That’s not good enough. I understand where the council are coming from, but as a public representative, what do we leave this meeting and tell the public of Carrowholly if their land is to flood again?”

Mr Walsh responded to the concerns of the councillors, saying: “We expect the first draft of the report within the next week which is the end of the month, which hits the timeframe in fairness, and we then see what the report recommends. Then we move on to planning the work. But there’s a little bit more in it than that because we need to consult with yourselves and the people in Carrowholly about what’s in the report, so there will be a little bit of time after the report arrives in teasing out the conclusions and we’ll move on from there.”

Cllr Mulroy questioned what form the consultation with the people in Carrowholly would take. Director of services for Mayo County Council, Martin Keating, said: “We need to see what’s in the draft report before we decide on what will be the form of consultation, we want it to be a success and we’ve nothing to hide in the report. We want it to be as extensive as we can.”

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