Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Dublin Flooding.

58.

asked the Minister for Local Government if, in view of the recurring flooding in the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown constituency and other areas, he is satisfied that the equipment held, and the arrangements put into operation, are adequate to meet such emergencies; and, if not, if he will take steps to ensure that all necessary precautions are taken to deal with the situation.

59.

asked the Minister for Local Government if his Department in co-operation with the Dublin County Council can take any immediate action to alleviate the recurrent flooding problem at Kilmacud, Stillorgan, County Dublin so as to provide a rapid clearance of surface water pending the completion of the main Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown drainage scheme.

60.

asked the Minister for Local Government whether he is aware (1) of the serious flooding which took place on Tuesday the 11th instant in the areas of Ailesbury Drive, St. Alban's Park and other areas in Sandymount and Merrion Road in the city of Dublin; (2) that great damage to property in numerous dwellinghouses and grave inconvenience to the occupants was thereby caused; (3) that such flooding and damage, though occasioned by an unprecedented electrical storm, was aggravated by the lack of drainage facilities in the affected areas; (4) that a scheme for a large area comprising Belfield, Stillorgan Road and the lands approaching the Merrion Road has been adopted for some years by the Dublin Corporation and the Dublin County Council, and approved by him; (5) that there has been great delay in carrying out the scheme; and (6) that, if the scheme had been carried out in a reasonable time after its adoption and approval, the drainage would have been adequate, or would at least have minimised the recent flood damage; what was the cause of such delay; and if, in the circumstances he will recommend to the Government to provide a fund for the compensation of persons who have suffered inconvenience, and damage to property.

61.

asked the Minister for Local Government if he is aware that extensive damage has been caused to dwelling houses and other property in the Dundrum area, County Dublin, owing to the recent flooding of the Swan River; and what action he proposes to take in the matter.

62.

asked the Minister for Local Government whether, in view of the frequent recurrence of serious flooding of numerous houses in the Dundrum-Goatstown-Stillorgan areas, Dublin, and the repeated heavy losses in property and personal belongings caused to the residents, he will have a full investigation made as to the causes of this menace to life and property, and have the necessary remedies carried out without delay.

63.

asked the Minister for Local Government what causes the heavy flow of water which cascades from the old railway bridge at Dundrum, Dublin, on to the main roadway during periods of flooding; and what it is proposed to do to prevent a recurrence, and to lessen the danger of serious flooding of the houses nearby.

64.

asked the Minister for Local Government whether any of the pumping stations failed during the recent storm; and what were the reasons for such failures.

65.

asked the Minister for Local Government whether the pumping station at Pigeon House Road, Ringsend, Dublin, failed during the recent storm and resulted in the flooding of Ailesbury Road-Sydenham Park areas.

66.

asked the Minister for Local Government when the pumping station at Pigeon House Road, Dublin, was installed; and whether he is satisfied that it is efficient enough to deal adequately with exceptional storms, such as recently occurred.

I propose, with your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, to deal with questions Nos. 58 to 66 together.

On Tuesday last, the 11th June, a severe thunderstorm accompanied by torrential rain caused extensive flooding in the Dublin-Dún Laoghaire area. Final figures of the actual amount of rain which fell are not yet available, but indications are that at the heaviest point the fall may have reached about seven inches in the day. At one place, outside the main storm area, 3.4 inches of rain fell in two and a half hours. This unprecedented downpour resulted in heavy overloading of the surface water drainage system. The position was aggravated by two additional factors, one, the blocking of certain culverts by debris, the other, the temporary failure of the Londonbridge Road pumping station, which was struck by lightning. This pumping station was the only one affected. It deals with discharges from the Pembroke area and its stoppage intensified the flooding in some degree, particularly in the vicinity of St. Alban's Park.

Immediately after the flooding, I asked Dublin Corporation, Dublin County Council and Dún Laoghaire Borough Corporation for reports on the causative factors, the measures taken to deal with the situation, the adequacy of the means available and what action was proposed to minimise the effects of any similar occurrence in the future. Pending the receipt of those reports, I am not in a position to deal with a large number of points of detail which have been raised in the questions.

In general, however, I am aware that the local authorities have been taking steps to meet the increased need for surface water drainage which arises from extensive housing development in south Dublin. A major surface water drainage scheme, estimated to cost about £300,000 is being undertaken jointly by Dublin County Council and Dún Laoghaire Borough Corporation. The main interceptor from Kilmacud to Dean's Grange has been completed and operated satisfactorily during the storm. A further stage of this scheme, prepared by Dublin County Council for surface water drainage in the Roebuck-Belfield-Stillorgan Road area, was fully approved by me in February, 1962, but has been impeded by protracted land acquisition difficulties. Steps have been taken by the council to overcome these obstacles.

For some time past, Dublin Corporation and Dublin County Council have been considering the general question of the drainage of the south city and contiguous areas, and, in consultation with my Department, have arranged for a full examination of the position with a view to the preparation of further drainage schemes in the south county and south city areas. The adequacy of the arrangements for drainage discharge through the Londonbridge Road station and otherwise is one of the matters under review.

I do not propose to ask the Government to provide compensation for persons who have suffered inconvenience or damage to property.

While accepting the fact that the rainfall on this occasion was abnormal, is the Minister aware that in the Kilmacud area of Stillorgan over a number of years, there has been repeated flooding, and is he satisfied his Department and the local authority concerned are justified in permitting further building until such time as the outlet arrangements are made sufficiently satisfactory to carry the excessive quantities of water that have arisen there?

That is one of the matters of detail that I would prefer not to comment on until I have received these general reports I have requested from all three local authorities. Having received those, it may well be that we may have to take the steps suggested by the Deputy.

The Minister might then also consider whether compensation would be justified in certain cases where damage has been caused on a number of occasions.

It is only fair to say that as far as we are aware at the moment, the damage would be somewhat on a parallel with the flood damage that occurred in Cork some time ago. In those circumstances, it was decided no special fund should be set up in order to pay compensation, but, at the same time, in so far as damage to house property was concerned, it was made quite clear that grants from my Department for repairs to house property that might have been damaged by these floods would be dealt with in the ordinary way and, in addition, that the local authorities would be prepared to operate their supplementary housing grant scheme to help out.

Would that include furniture?

No, just house property.

Would it be a 100 per cent grant?

When the Minister says the Pigeon House pumping station was hit by lightning, is he in a position to say what exactly was hit? Was it the electric supply? What caused the stoppage?

I do not really know, but does it matter all that much? The important thing is that the station was out of action. It went out of action through being struck by lightning.

If it had not been struck, would it have been able to take the strain of the undue supply?

That I do not think I would be able to say.

I wish to give notice that I intend raising on the Adjournment tonight the subject matter of my questions.

I shall communicate with the Deputy.