Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - River Fergus Drainage.

11.

andMrs. Hogan-O'Higgins asked the Minister for Finance if he will undertake as a matter of urgency the drainage of the river Fergus in County Clare either as a major drainage scheme or a series of subsidiary schemes for sections of the river.

12.

asked the Minister for Finance what progress has been made in regard to the preparation and implementation of a drainage scheme for the river Fergus catchment area to relieve flooding in parts of County Galway and County Clare.

With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 11 and 12 together.

The Commissioners of Public Works could undertake the drainage of the River Fergus only by way of a comprehensive scheme under the Arterial Drainage Act, 1945 dealing with the drainage problems of the catchment as a whole. The Fergus has been placed No. 20 on the priority list of major catchments and will be considered in its turn for treatment under the Act. It will, however, be some years before it can be reached.

Does the Parliamentary Secretary not consider that it is now necessary to introduce some major or some subsidiary scheme which might relieve flooding in Ennis and that it is necessary to direct the staff of the Board of Works to inspect and survey the Fergus having in mind that a subsidiary scheme might relieve the flooding?

No, I am afraid we cannot take the Fergus out of its place on the priority list but, as the Deputy is no doubt aware, there has been a joint committee set up between Clare and Galway County Councils who are carrying out certain maintenance drainage works on this river and the joint drainage committee, through the Minister for External Affairs and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Gaeltacht, Deputy Kitt, have lately asked me if I would receive a deputation on this matter. I have a letter from them suggesting certain legislation that might be introduced. That matter is under consideration now.

In the hope that the letter will be successful I will ask no further questions.

We got the letter only very recently.