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New flooding plan needed

ALL “the old rules” that have surrounded flood control in Ennis are now irrelevant, this week’s meeting of Ennis Town Council heard.
Engineer Eamon O’Dea told the meeting that there would be an evaluation of the floods and funds would be sought to make improvements, while he also said that there is no safety risk at the Bank Place Bridge, although further inspections will take place when the water level recedes.
Councillor Brian Meaney asked at what point it would be necessary to relocate people to higher ground, rather than continually tackling flooding at their homes. He said that certain works in the ’80s had been carried out “nefariously” and that a new approach was needed. “We need a substantial look at flood management. All the old rules have gone,” he commented.
Councillor Meaney also said that the situation would have been much more grave but for the works that have been carried out at the Parnell Street car park.
There needs to be a moratorium on development near the Fergus, according to Councillor Frankie Neylon. “We can visualise what will happen to the town unless we stop all developments near the river,” he said.
He said there had been warnings when Cappahard and Castlerock were developed but they weren’t heeded. Councillor Neylon also warned that Cloughleigh was set to flood in the future, after protection works were carried out further down the river.
Ennis Town Manager Ger Dollard said that the recent flooding was unprecedented and that the council’s current priority is getting people back to their homes.
He said that there was a need to look at the flooding in its totality to see what infrastructure may be needed.
Councillor Tommy Brennan said that local voices need to be listened to, particularly those of older people who have knowledge of drainage in Ennis.
“I’d ask that local knowledge be taken into account before anyone goes sending photos to be looked at by consultants. Ask local people.”
Councillor Johnny Flynn introduced a motion that the council seek the construction and relocation of flood barrage to Latoon from Clarecastle but he agreed to defer this until after the assessment of the flooding.
Councillor Mary Howard had a motion asking if there had been structural damage to the bridge at Bank Place but was told by Mr O’Dea there was no danger to the public. “If there were any concerns it would be closed full stop.”
Mr O’Dea also said there would have been extremely severe consequences and much more widespread flooding in the Parnell Street car park if works hadn’t been done.
A number of councillors paid tribute to the response to the flooding and to how information on it was relayed to the public.

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