Tipperary TD Noel Coonan received confirmation in Dáil Eireann on Wednesday that the Templemore Flood Relief Scheme remains a priority, despite delays with commencement of the scheme, and funding has been ringfenced in the OPW’s Budget for works associated with the project.
Deputy Coonan raised the issue with Minister of State Simon Harris who has special responsibility for the Office of Public Works during Topical Issues on Wednesday; and expressed ongoing concerns felt by the people of Templemore about the matter.
“I pressed Minister Harris on the issue which is of continuing concern in Templemore. We are heading into the Winter months which means heavy rain and possible flooding. It’s unacceptable that areas such as The Mall, Blackcastle Road and Priory Demense may again flood and suffering will continue for residents,” said Deputy Coonan.
Speaking in the Dáil, Deputy Coonan said: “There is not just the damage to property, inconvenience and the horror the residents experience at the time but the subsequent problems, such as lack of insurance and the real fear that it will happen again. We were told work would commence in mid-August 2014. That has not happened and I seek a reason for that from you Minister of State. Will the Minister of State outline the reasons for the delay and provide a clear commitment on his behalf and on behalf of the OPW that the scheme will go ahead sooner rather than later?”
In response, Minister Harris said: “I thank Deputy Coonan for raising the Templemore flood relief scheme today and on a number of occasions during the two and a half months I have been in office. I accept it is a very important issue to him and his constituents. I had an opportunity to meet the Deputy and a number of residents in Templemore prior to my appointment to my current post and I know the importance of the issue for the people of Templemore. Before I outline the detailed response to the question, I wish to make clear that as Minister of State with responsibility for the OPW, I am fully committed, as is the OPW, to the delivery of the Templemore flood relief scheme. The funding is in place and it is a priority project which will be delivered.”
“An issue arose in relation to a combined sewage and storm water overflow pipe in the Church Road area of Templemore which is in the path of the proposed bypass. The OPW is in discussions with Irish Water regarding works necessary to circumvent the pipe. It is expected that this matter will be resolved satisfactorily and that it will not delay progression of the scheme. The next step is that the amended proposals will be put on formal public exhibition, in accordance with the Arterial Drainage Act 1945. That will take place early in 2015,” said Minister Harris.
Deputy Coonan concluded saying: “The onus is on Ministers and OPW officials not to make promises they cannot keep. I hope the OPW will commit to this and see the project through.”