Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Deputy Pearse Doherty has today welcomed the announcement that a number of flood mitigation and relief projects across Donegal have been given the green light.
The confirmation was made by Minister of State for the OPW, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, at the official unveiling of the state’s risk management plan introduced to deal with some of the areas worst affected by flooding and compiled in response to the CFRAM flood mapping study conducted by the Office of Public Works.
However, the Donegal TD has said that news of the plans is a ‘bittersweet’ moment, acknowledging that those communities excluded from the programme will be understandably disappointed today.
Reacting to this morning’s announcement, Deputy Doherty said: “I welcome the confirmation from Minister Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran this morning that a number of badly needed flood relief and mitigation projects have been granted funding by the Department and will now proceed to construction.
“I understand that amongst the project’s given the green light include a dedicated scheme for Downings, with €870,000 being made available immediately to bring the project forward and this is to be overseen by the local authority.
“Near Lifford, €5.94 million has been approved for a major scheme which will be used to go on now for detailed design, however I will be seeking clarity from the Minister on the specifics of this scheme including whether or not the Finn Valley basin, including the Castelfinn area, will stand to benefit.
“The plan also makes an allocation to a scheme in Glenties to enable the council to progress the local scheme there which aims to tackle harsh flooding in the area.
“And Kerrykeel will also receive money under today’s package for a minor scheme with the Minister’s office having advised me that funding for the project will be made available immediately.
“I will also be seeking clarity from the Minister on what is being planned for Burnfoot, where flooding is also a major issue as no further details have been given to my office as yet in relation to the town.
“As many people will be aware, the Minister visited the county last October at my request and this meant that communities across Donegal that are most affected by flooding and coastal erosion had the opportunity to press upon him the need to introduce local measures aimed at resolving the problem.
“Since his visit, I have been regularly making representations on behalf of these communities and have sought updates from the Minister on a fortnightly basis in an effort to keep these badly needed schemes on the agenda.
“However, I think it’s also important to acknowledge that a number of communities will be understandably disappointed and angry this morning after having learned that their local scheme will not be funded as part of the capital programme.
“I too share their frustration and I fully understand that flooding in all communities has a devastating impact on the many homes, businesses, farms and community facilities that have experienced episodes of flooding over recent years.
“I pledge to continue to make representations on their behalf and to support their calls for further schemes, flood relief works and other mitigation measures are introduced in communities worst affected by flood waters.”
Earlier today, Minister Joe McHugh said that an announcement on a programme of works for Burnfoot will be made separately in the next four weeks.
Minister McHugh said: “While the major relief programme for Burnfoot is not included in this section of the nationwide CFram plan, I understand that experts in the Office of Public Works are continuing to analyse the best options on a scheme to minimise flood risk there and they have been on site with Donegal County Council in recent weeks.”