Cavan County Council is to embark on a programme of 'priority’ works after it received flood-relief funding. The allocation, however, represents little over half the estimated €4.9m required to repair some 83 roads in the county damaged by recent flooding and implement preventative measures.
Director of Services Joe McLoughlin told elected members at their March monthly meeting on Monday afternoon: “We have now received the first tranche of €2.6m in respect of that allocation.”
Outlining the plans, he said: “It is a combination of repair work in respect of roads and bridges and preventative work in respect of flooding on roads, particularly those that are the subject of repeat flooding.”
Mr McLoughlin said that the council, in the context of funding received, is now identifying the priority works on those 83 roads. “There are five of those 83 should benefit under the national heading and there is always the possibility that we will get additional funding, when this allocation is fully dispersed in May of this year,” he remarked.
Those roads will be notified to the members at Municipal District level.
Welcoming the allocation, Cathaoirleach Paddy Smith (SF) was hopeful that the remainder of the funding will be allocated in May.
Fianna Fáil’s John Paul Feeley insisted that the focus must now be on acquiring the second allocation needed. “There is funding available, as I understand it, from the OPW – it is a matter for the local authority to co-ordinate that,” he said.
Cllr Damien Brady (SF) asked when the works might commence and again relayed the gratitude of “people of the ground” for the assistance given to them by council staff during the recehnt flooding.
Cllr Peter McVitty (FG) asked: “Are the houses that were flooded in the area be looked at as well under this funding?”
His party colleague Paddy O’Reilly (FG) said that he would prefer to see the money being dispersed county-wide and asked who would be making the decisions in relation to the allocation of the money.
The Senior Engineer Brendan Jennings replied: “We submit an application in respect of roads that were affected by the flooding – they are spread throughout the county – the main impact was from the river Erne and also from the Annalee.”
He further clarified that the funding was from the Department of Transport for roads. “Some houses were flooded due to run off from roads and we aim to address that. Other houses were flooded due to culverts that were damaged – that damage needs to be fixed,” outlined Mr Jennings.
Some roads or lanes will have to be raised and others widened. “We will need additional land and we will have to work with landowners to avail of these lands. If that does not prove successful, we may not be able to do this work,” he remarking, adding that regular updates will be given and municipal district meetings.
Mr Jennings told Cllr McVitty that the level of investment required to dredge the River Erne is “colossal” but that the OPW is looking at the matter.
In response to Cllr Winston Bennett (FG), Mr Jennings also said that the Rivers Agency in Northern Ireland has carried out a report on the possibility of drainage works on the River Erne.
However, it concluded that it would only reduce water levels by four to six inches and, as such, the project was not worth the level of investment required.