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Councillor PJ Kelly

No end in sight for Kildysart Cemetery flooding

LAND acquisition issues stand in the way of a long-term solution to flooding at the cemetery at Kildysart, members of the West Clare Municipal District have been told.

At the most recent meeting of the district committee, Councillor PJ Kelly tabled a motion calling on the council to draw up a plan to solve the ongoing issue. The council’s official response, however, has cast doubt on the possibility of a solution.

A written reply from Steve Lahiffe, Senior Executive Engineer (SEE) at the Project Management Office, outlined how lands required to build an embankment currently stand in the way of a successful outcome.

“This is very sad situation,” Councillor Kelly said. “It’s very upsetting for people because the graveyard is prone to flooding. People go there to pay their respects to their relatives and it’s very emotional for people to find that graves are under water. I would like if the council could be more humane and do something to alleviate the pressure that’s on people.”

In response to the motion, which was seconded by Cathaoirleach of the West Clare Municipal District, Councillor Joe Garrihy, the Senior Executive Engineer outlined how some works had been carried out in the area in recent times. “Clare County Council have been repairing and upgrading various sections of embankment and sluices all along the Shannon Estuary over the last number of years,” Mr Lahiffe’s reply outlined. “This included repairs in Ballycorick, Ballynacally, Iniscorker and Lacknashannagh. Consultants RPS were engaged by Clare County Council to carry out this work. The flooding at Kildysart graveyard is included in this scheme. RPS examined the causes of flooding in the area and identified and examined a number of different solutions. They had concerns that some of the proposed solutions may have implications to land and property downstream of the site. A preferred option was identified that eliminated this risk. This option is technically and environmentally possible and economically viable. This involves the construction of an flood embankment. However the land required for the works is in private ownership currently and Clare County Council are not in a position to acquire the lands.”

Councillor Garrihy noted that a county-wide review of burial grounds is under way. “Hopefully, it might look at some of these issues, and deal with them,” he said.

Flooding along the estuary in the area of the cemetery in Kildysart is a long-standing problem. Following severe storms early in 2014, up to 1,000 acres of land in the area of Kildysart flooded, with waters encroaching on the local cemetery.

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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