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For Oral Answer on : 08/02/2024
Question Number(s): 126 Question Reference(s): 5580/24
Department: Public Expenditure, National Development Plan Delivery and Reform
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
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QUESTION


To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure; National Development Plan Delivery and Reform further to Parliamentary Question No. 378 of 17 January 2024, if his Department has received an updated application from Cork County Council for flood mitigation works in Castlemartyr; if so, the proposed works that are to be undertaken as part of the application; if an application for similar flood relief measures for Mogeely has been received by his Department in light of the damage caused by Storm Babet; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY


I acknowledge the devastating impact flooding had to home owners, businesses and the communities of Castlemartyr and Mogeely during Storm Babet, last year.

The Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management or CFRAM Programme, the largest study of flood risk in the state, was completed by the OPW in 2018. This studied the flood risk for two thirds of the population against their risk of flooding from rivers and the sea. The output from this study was the Flood Risk Management Plans. These 2018 Plans are providing the evidence for a proactive approach for designing and constructing flood relief schemes for the most at risk communities.

It is not possible to progress all 150 flood relief schemes identified by the Flood Risk Management Plans simultaneously, due to the constraint of the availability of the professional and specialised engineering skills required to design and construct flood relief schemes.  While the prioritised approach to delivering schemes means that work is complete or underway to protect some 80% of all at risk properties, nationally, the flood relief project for Castlemartyr is not in the first phase of projects being progressed nationally. The Government is committed to funding this scheme as part of the €1.3bn for flood relief measures under the National Development Plan.  

The OPW is currently trialling a new delivery model towards a more efficient means of delivering all 50 schemes in the second tranche of schemes. Once consultants are appointed to progress this scheme, consultation with statutory and non-statutory bodies, as well as the general public, will take place at the appropriate stages to ensure that all stakeholders have the opportunity to input into the development of the scheme.

Local Authorities are responsible for investigating and addressing localised flooding issues in their area.  Where necessary, Local Authorities may put forward proposals to relevant central Government Departments, including the OPW, for funding of appropriate measures depending on the infrastructure or assets under threat.   

Under the OPW Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme, applications by local authorities for localised flood mitigation measures are considered for projects that are estimated to cost not more than €750,000 in each instance. Funding of up to 90% of the cost is available for approved projects.  Applications are assessed by the OPW with regard to the specific economic, social and environmental criteria of the scheme, including a cost-benefit ratio and the availability of funding for flood risk management. Full details of this scheme are available on: www.floodinfo.ie/minor-works/.

In July 2018, Cork County Council submitted an application under this scheme for river cleaning works upstream and downstream of Castlemartyr Bridge that did not meet the criteria for the scheme. Following the recent devastating flooding caused by Storm Babet, Cork County Council has confirmed that it is reviewing its original application and that it intends to submit an updated application to the OPW for Castlemartyr Village.  I can confirm that this application has not been received by the OPW to date, but once this application is received, it will be considered by the OPW and discussed with Cork County Council, especially in relation to the linkages of any proposed minor works with the flood relief scheme for the town. I can also confirm that an application under the OPW Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme has not been received at this time from Cork County Council for Mogeely.