Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Ceisteanna (108)

Kieran O'Donnell


108. Deputy Kieran O'Donnell asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of flood relief schemes in Limerick city and environs, including Coonagh, King's Island and Castleconnell; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26359/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí ó Béal (9 píosaí cainte) (Ceist ar Public)

I specifically seek an update on the flood relief projects in Limerick city and its environs, including Coonagh, King's Island, Castleconnell, Montpelier, Annacotty village and the Mountshannon Road. The Minister of State has visited these areas and people's lives are being affected there. Houses in Coonagh were flooded and residents are now getting back into their homes. The people of King's Island are waiting on a large project to get under way. Funding has been allocated to Castleconnell village, which has been repeatedly flooded over a number of years. This extends down to the Mountshannon Road and into Annacotty village. Montpelier is also affected.

As the Deputy notes, the Minister of State has visited Limerick city and other areas where flooding has occurred. I thank him for raising the question of the status of flood relief schemes in Limerick city and its environs, including Coonagh, King's Island and Castleconnell. As the Deputy knows, the Minister of State is very familiar with the areas in question. On 15 September, in the company of officials from Limerick City and County Council and the Office of Public Works, he visited Coonagh to view the area where the embankments were breached. From there he visited King's Island and received updates on these projects.

The evidence provided by the catchment flood risk and assessment and management, CFRAM, programme, which was launched by the Office of Public Works in May 2018, supports the Government’s €1 billion planned investment to complete 151 flood relief schemes through the national development plan up to 2027 as part of Project 2040. Since May 2018, the number of flood relief schemes under design and construction by the OPW in partnership with local authorities has increased to approximately 90. These include schemes in King's Island, Limerick city and its environs and Castleconnell. Together with the 46 schemes already completed or substantially completed, including a number of localised schemes within Limerick city, this means that the OPW and local authorities have completed or are now actively working on projects to protect 80% of those properties to be protected in this decade.

There is currently in place a joint Limerick City and County Council and OPW steering group for delivery of schemes in County Limerick. The OPW has agreed to fund two engineering resources and a senior staff officer in Limerick to work on delivery of the schemes. The senior executive engineer and senior staff officer are now in place and the executive engineer post is to be filled. A project brief for the procurement of engineering and environmental consultants to develop a flood relief scheme for Limerick city was advertised on the e-tenders platform in July 2020. It is intended to appoint consultants in December 2020. Once consultants are appointed to progress the flood relief scheme, consultation with statutory and non-statutory bodies, as well as the public, will take place at the appropriate stages to ensure that all parties have the opportunity to input into the development of the scheme.

I thank the Minister of State for the update. I accompanied the Minister of State, Deputy Patrick O'Donovan, on his tour of Limerick and the flood relief projects in Coonagh and King's Island that have been mentioned. He is also very familiar with Castleconnell, the Mountshannon Road, Annacotty and Montpelier, as well as the projects throughout Limerick city.

I welcome that additional staff are to be appointed. I ask that the appointment of design teams be expedited, although I know the design team is already in place for Castleconnell. These matters must be rectified as quickly as possible and I welcome the Minister of State's commitment in the House today.

Is Deputy Ó Murchú spreading his tentacles to Limerick?

Not to waste a question or answer on CFRAM, as a colleague from another constituency has put down a question, I assume the Minister of State has an answer to my question on flood protection.

The Deputy is testing my patience.

I refer to such measures in Dundalk, Drogheda and across County Louth. Will the Minister of State very quickly synopsise the timeline for those flood defences?

I apologise as I am replying on behalf of the Minister of State, Deputy Patrick O'Donovan, who has good reasons for not being here. I am really not qualified to answer the Deputy's question so I will need to revert to him directly if that is all right.

I thank the Minister of State for his honesty.