Updated: 13/09/16 : 11:45:46
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Council must use OPW 'Minor Works Scheme' to manage Owenmore flooding - Mac Sharry

A more proactive use of the OPW 'Minor Works Scheme' is urgently required to be adopted by Sligo County Council to deal with the age old problem of Owenmore River flooding.  That's according to local Fianna Fáil TD Marc Mac Sharry.

The Sligo deputy said " this scheme has been around for a significant period of time. There is a total of €500,000,000 available over the next number or years to deal with important minor works schemes to alleviate flooding risk, coastal erosion and other issues.   

"Other local authorities routinely submit 30-40 applications under this scheme every year to make much needed improvements and have been successful in securing resources under the minor works scheme to build flood defences, clean rivers of debris and undertake important coastal defences.  Sligo's record in this record has not been great with applications limited in number and most recently catering for just coastal erosion works at Strandhill and Rosses Point."

Mac Sharry continued, "We have an age old problem for 50 years or more where flash points on the Owenmore River have wreaked havoc with severe flooding to homes and farm land along the River.  Following attendance at the recent OPW Public consultation on the Draft Flood Management Plan with people from the affected communities Mac Sharry said I will work with the local community to identify the key areas most appropriate for improvements to alleviate flooding risk along the Owenmore River so that we can then lobby Sligo County Council to apply for resources to fund the improvements under the Minor Works Scheme.   

"Year after year communities have suffered from the inaction of consecutive Governments & local authorities.  We must  be more proactive locally and use the schemes that are available to us to begin to solve these problems once and for all. 

"The money is there and our community is as entitled to it as any other. If we are not applying for the funding how can we expect to get it?

In the coming weeks it is my hope that PJ Hannon, Chairman of Owenmore Drainage for more than 40 years and members of the local affected community along the river will assist in identifying the flash points that are in need of minor works which we can then seek to pressure Sligo County Council to apply for the funding that is available to us.   In addition to the Owenmore there are other parts of Sligo including the Rathbraughan area north of Sligo Town which could also benefit from Minor Works Grants that will protect against the flooding we have experienced in these areas in the past."

 "The financial resources to provide solutions to these problems are available to us.  It is time we went after them for ourselves," concluded Deputy Mac Sharry.