Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Questions (145)

Tony McLoughlin


145. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to provide a long-term solution to recurring flooding in County Sligo, in particular the Owenmore river; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4741/18]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The core strategy for addressing areas at potentially significant risk from flooding is the Office of Public Works (OPW) Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme. The Programme involves the production of predictive flood mapping for each location, the development of preliminary flood risk management options and the production of Flood Risk Management Plans.

The CFRAM Programme focussed on 300 Areas for Further Assessment (AFAs) including 90 coastal areas, mainly in urban locations nationwide, identified as being at potentially significant risk of flooding. The proposed feasible measures, both structural and non-structural, identified for AFAs are outlined in the Flood Risk Management Plans.

Seven areas in County Sligo were identified as AFA’s, Ballymote. Ballysadare, Coolooney. Coolaney, Gorteen, Riverstown and Sligo town.

The Draft Flood Risk Management Plans were published for public consultation in 2016 and a significant volume of submissions were received for consideration. In Summer 2017, the OPW finalised all Plans and each Plan was submitted to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for an independent review of the environmental assessments. This independent review is nearing completion, after which the Final Plans will be formally submitted to the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform for approval, in accordance with the statutory requirements.

I would hope in the coming weeks to seek the approval from the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform for the Flood Risk Management Plans developed under the CFRAM process.

The Office of Public Works (OPW) carries out a programme of Arterial Drainage Maintenance to a total of 11,500km of river channel and approximately 730km of embankments nationally. These maintenance works relate to arterial drainage schemes completed by the OPW under the Arterial Drainage Acts 1945 and 1995, whose purpose was primarily to improve the drainage of agricultural lands.

The Owenmore River does not form part of an arterial drainage scheme. The OPW therefore has no responsibility for the maintenance of the channels in the Owenmore Catchment. Statutory responsibility for the maintenance of the Owenmore Drainage District rests with Sligo County Council.