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People ‘living in a nightmare’ over persistent flooding

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RESIDENTS of neighbourhoods in Ennis are “living in a nightmare” fearing a return of flood waters, a meeting of councillors heard, as it was confirmed funding has been made available to carry out a feasibility study aimed at finding a solution to the issue.

The worries of residents from Victoria Court, the Lahinch Road and lower Cloughleigh were highlighted at a recent meeting of the Ennis Municipal District.

Councillor Pat Daly stated that flooding is a “big issue” for residents in these areas. He pointed out his brother is among those affected saying, “They are living in a nightmare, always worried there could be a flood in their gardens and houses.”

At the meeting Councillor Johnny Flynn sought an update on previous requests for a solution to the flooding affecting properties in the area.

He recalled flooding in 2012 / 2013 left one businessperson counting the costs after €30,000 in catering equipment was destroyed. “This urgently needs to be addressed,” he said. He outlined that houses in council estates and privately owned properties are being “badly affected” by the Claureen River which suffers “flash floods”.

Sean Lenihan, Senior Engineer, stated that there are “longstanding concerns” in this area. “I would have advised previously that following initial investigation and inspection by our staff, we applied to the OPW for the necessary funding to carry out a more detailed feasibility study of the area and to design a technically possible, environmentally compliant and economically viable solution.

“I am glad to report that we received confirmation from the OPW by letter dated January 18, 2022 that following our submission, they were making €22,000 available under the Minor Flood Mitigation Works & Coastal Protection Scheme to carry out the required Feasibility Study of Victoria Court and Gordon Drive, Ennis.

“I wish to point out that the study area also includes Shallee Drive. This work will commence immediately with a view to identifying a preferred solution which can then be advanced through the Minor Works Scheme process. I will keep the members informed of developments in this regard.”

This was welcomed by Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy who said news of the funding is “very positive.” “I would like to think this is the beginning of a potentially positive outcome.”

Councillor Mary Howard pointed out that “any bit of rain the Claureen River rises”. She recalled flooding in 2009 which left “the whole town literally under water” with “the thoughts of it still haunt people”. “It’s great to see progress being made,” she added.

Councillor Flynn spoke about the effect of climate change on flood events. He recalled how €40 million has been spent on flood defences in Ennis and renewed calls for the barrage in Clarecastle to be moved saying the Fergus is a “constant threat”.

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