The long awaited flood relief scheme for Templemore has finally been given the green light, decades after it was first proposed.
This week Minister Brian Hayes announced that any remaining obstacles to building the project have been cleared, and that works can begin this Summer. Some J5m has been set aside for the project. Templemore has seen regular flooding since the 1960’s, especially in the Blackcastle area.
Deputy Noel Coonan said he lobbied hard for the measures. “Minister Hayes confirmed to me that his Department and the Office of Public Works are pushing forward with the project after my continuous representations on the matter. I have met personally many times with Minister Hayes and the OPW on this important issue. Flooding is an ongoing problem in the Blackcastle area in Templemore and this is great news for the town,” said Deputy Coonan.
“Amended proposals are being finalised with a view to putting them on public exhibition in March. If the proposals are generally accepted by the public and stakeholders, OPW will be in a position to commence the scheme in Summer. I met with Minister Hayes in November and highlighted concerns of the Town Council and local businesses and residents as to when the project would proceed. The OPW decided in the latter part of 2013 that it would be necessary to amend substantially the original proposals for this scheme, particularly in relation to a proposed by-pass culvert. These obstacles have been thankfully overcome and the project will commence shortly,” concluded Deputy Coonan.
Meanwhile, Deputy Michael Lowry said he “cautiously welcomed” the announcement. However Deputy Lowry expressed concern that numerous announcements have been made previously by the Government in regards to this scheme and residents in the Templemore area have continually been disappointed. “My concern would be that this is not the first time that these works have been announced by the Government. An almost identical announcement was previously made by Minister Brian Hayes T.D. in 2012 yet the works did not come to fruition. People are understandably cautious and have lost confidence given the numerous announcements that have been made in regards to this project.
“Further to a number of queries from traders and residents, I recently submitted a Parliamentary Question to the Minister on this matter and the information that I was given in return was that the amended proposals, which are technically superior and more economically advantageous, are currently being finalised with a view to putting them on public Exhibition at the end of March. I would query whether it is realistic to state that the works will commence this summer.
“These works are desperately needed and the issue should not be used as an election ploy. I would urge the Government to ensure that work commences in Templemore as swiftly as possible,” said Deputy Lowry.