Serious concerns have been raised in the Dáil over the lack of action on flood defences in Donegal Town.
The town has experienced the destruction of flooding in recent years, with homes and businesses suffering costly damage at times, including Storm Lorenzo.
Sinn Féin TD for Donegal, Pearse Doherty, questioned the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform on the progress made by the Department in relation to the promised flood defences for Donegal Town.
Speaking in the Dáil on Thursday, Teachta Doherty said: “Donegal Town is located at the mouth of the estuary where the river Eske meets the Atlantic Ocean at Donegal Bay. A beautiful location, but unfortunately it is susceptible to all types of flooding.
“In the past, we have seen flooding from rivers overtopping, flash flooding as well as flooding from high tides and storm surges.
“There have been a number of devastating events since 2015 in the aftermath of Storm Abigail and Storm Desmond in the winter of 2015, as well as Storm Lorenzo in 2019,” he said.
“Only for the trojan work of council staff during Storm Barra at the end of 2021, we could have seen further devastation,” Doherty continued.
The government has planned for flood defence works in Donegal Town, but stated: …the proposed project for Donegal town is not in the first phase of projects to be progressed, the OPW and DCC are working closely to ensure that it will be commenced as early as possible in the current programme of investment.
Doherty has asked for an update in relation to the catchment and flood risk management, CFRAM, flood risk management plan for Donegal town in particular.
He added: “Many Ministers have visited the area and have made promises in relation to these works. What stage are the works at now? What progress has been made?”
“Donegal County Council predict that over 70 properties, both residential and commercial, are at risk in the area.
“Residents in Clarendon Drive, in Brookfield and those in New Row live their lives in fear of the new downpour or storm surge.
“The issue must be solved, and it needs to be prioritised.”
“The Area Roads Manager has recently said that “the only real solution here is the big solution, the €8.5m scheme.”
“So, Minister, from a funding perspective – will you guarantee that this €8.5m will be made available and provide a timeframe in which that will happen.
“I fear, from listening to the warnings coming from all sides – including council engineers – that by the time these works are funded, commence and are completed, we may be facing another flooding disaster.
“This has to be avoided at all costs.
“So, while I will be raising this issue with you again and keeping a track on progress based on the commitments you have given this morning; will you commit to visiting Donegal Town, meeting with the Council officials, public representatives and residents to discuss the specific plans for Donegal Town?”