Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Questions (191, 192)

Sorca Clarke


191. Deputy Sorca Clarke asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the Office of Public Works will open consultation or hold an online briefing with residents affected by the construction of new flood defences on both the east side and the west side of the River Shannon in Athlone, County Westmeath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8202/21]

View answer

Sorca Clarke


192. Deputy Sorca Clarke asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the Office of Public Works will provide a timeline for completion of the flood defence projects on the east and west sides of the River Shannon in Athlone, County Westmeath. [8203/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 191 and 192 together.

The Athlone Flood Relief Scheme is being led by Westmeath County Council with funding from the Office of Public Works (OPW). Construction works are being undertaken directly by the OPW’s Direct Labour and Direct Managed Services.

Building on the option development work of the Shannon CFRAM (Catchment-based Flood Risk Assessment & Management) Study, Westmeath County Council appointed Engineering Consultants in April 2017, to progress appropriate flood risk alleviation measures for Athlone. Following detailed option development, eight discrete cells of flood defence works were identified and six of these were progressed individually through Part 8 Planning by the Council. One cell did not require Planning approval, as the works were minor in nature, and one cell remains to be progressed to Part 10 Planning stage.

Construction of the Scheme is progressing well, despite Covid-19 restrictions and effects and also the high water levels that have hampered progress to some extent. The current anticipated timeline for completion of each flood cell is set out in Table 1 below, but are somewhat tentative, given the current Covid-19 situation and the continuing high water levels.

Table 1: Athlone Flood Relief Scheme - Flood Cell timelines

Flood Cell

Anticipated completion

FC1 – Deerpark

Q2 2022

FC2 – The Strand

Q2 2022

FC3 – The Quay

Q2 2022

FC4 – Brick Island

Q4 2021

FC5 – Marine View

Q2 2022

FC6 – Iona Park

Construction complete

FC7 – River Al (Cregan)

To be confirmed subject to Planning approval

FC8 – Golden Island

To be confirmed once construction has commenced

Westmeath County Council, as the Contracting Authority, is responsible for public liaison and Councillors are updated by the Executive at regular meetings. Consultation on preliminary options developed under the Catchment-based Flood Risk Assessment and Management study (CFRAM) was undertaken by the Office of Public Work in 2015, and a further public consultation event was undertaken by the Council on the River Al flood cell in December, 2019. Flood cells advanced by the Council through the Part 8 planning process were all publicly advertised and it was open to the public to make submissions. Any specific interaction with interested parties during the construction phase of the scheme falls within the remit of Westmeath County Council.