Dáil Éireann - Volume 530 - 20 February, 2001

Written Answers. - Flood Relief.

198. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Finance the extent to which a survey has been carried out in County Kildare of the various locations which suffered severe flooding in the winter months; if, in the interim, he has identified the cause or causes of such flooding; the extent of the remedial works required to combat same; if he has or will prioritise drainage works with a view to addressing the issue in its entirety; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4947/01]

Minister of State at the Department of Finance (Mr. Cullen): The preliminary cause of the flooding in November 2000 was the volume and intensity of rainfall. The rainfall in early November last, one of the wettest on record, particularly in the south and east, gave rise to flooding in many parts of the country, not least in parts of County Kildare, where the effects of the rainfall caused [1355] localised flooding over widespread areas of the county. It is estimated that the November flooding has a return period in excess of 50 years.

Since the reasons for the flooding impacting on one individual area over another may be subject to particular localised contributory factors and be as varied as the distribution of the locations, it would not be practicable to address all the flooding problems in the county as a single issue.

The Deputy will be aware that priority is being accorded the flooding problems in the Hazelhatch area of Celbridge, County Kildare in that the area has been the subject of survey and investigation by the Office of Public Works and the extent of the remedial works required to alleviate flooding has been identified in the Shinkeen Stream, Hazelhatch draining scheme for which a flood relief scheme is expected to reach works stage this spring.

Kildare County Council, which also has functions in relation to the alleviation of flooding within its jurisdictional area under the Local Authorities (Works) Act, 1949, may also have proposals for drainageflood relief works, of which we have not been apprised.

199. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the severe flooding which occurred at Mill Lane, Leixlip, County Kildare in November 2000; if he has entered into negotiations with other bodies or agencies with a view to preventing a recurrence; if any remedial works are planned, if so, when; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4948/01]

Minister of State at the Department of Finance (Mr. Cullen): I am familiar with the extent of the flooding generally in and about Leixlip, County Kildare, resulting from the November 2000 rainfall. However, neither I nor the Office of Public Works has received any reports from the local authority outlining the specific details of the flooding or the mechanisms which may have contributed to the flooding at Mill Lane, Leixlip, County Kildare. There have been no communications with any other bodies or agencies in the matter and there are no proposals to implement remedial works in the area at this time.

200. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Finance the action which has been taken to prevent the recurrence of flooding which took place at Newtown, Maynooth, County Kildare in November 2000; if remedial works are proposed or anticipated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4949/01]

Minister of State at the Department of Finance (Mr. Cullen): I am familiar with the extent of the flooding problems in and about Maynooth, County Kildare, in November 2000 and have requested the Office of Public Works to seek reports from the local authority outlining the [1356] specific details of the flooding or previous such incidences, and-or the mechanisms which may have contributed to the flooding at Newtown, Maynooth, County Kildare. Pending receipt of the details requested there are no proposals to implement remedial works in the area at this time.

201. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Finance the position in relation to the report on the drainage requirements at Hazelhatch, Celbridge, County Kildare, with particular reference to the need to avert the future threat to the local railway station and nearby dwellings; the actual startup date of the drainage works involved; the other agencies, including the local authority and the local community which are or may be involved; if further consultations are required prior to commencement of works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4951/01]

Minister of State at the Department of Finance (Mr. Cullen): The Shinkeen Stream, Hazelhatch drainage scheme, which will alleviate flooding at Hazelhatch, Celbridge, County Kildare and benefit the main railway line, Hazelhatch railway station and other dwellings and properties in the area completed its public exhibition phase in December 2000.

The observations received from affected property owners, including Iarnród Éireann, the general public and the local authorities, which involve proposed amendments to the scheme designs as exhibited and requests for additional works, are being considered by the Office of Public Works as required under the drainage Acts. It is envisaged that contact will be made in the coming weeks with those people who raised issues by way of observations to the scheme proposals and the remaining statutory processes for the scheme completed with a view to commencing works on site by late spring.

202. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Finance if he has received reports through the Office of Public Works arising from the severe flooding which occurred in the winter months at a number of locations; if evaluation of the need for remedial drainage works has been concluded and costed; if and when it is proposed to carry out any such works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4952/01]

Minister of State at the Department of Finance (Mr. Cullen): I have received copies of reports prepared for the Department of the Environment and Local Government by local authorities on the flooding of November 2000 in their areas. It would be impracticable to expect the Office of Public Works to be able to investigate the disparate causes of the flooding over such a widespread area and to determine the extent of drainage works necessary to alleviate the flooding in all areas affected by the November flooding or to [1357] say when works for all those areas might be undertaken.

However, in the interim and in addition to their existing flood relief programme of investigations and works, it has been possible for the Office of Public Works to discuss the flooding problems of November with several local authorities and to establish technical works groups with some councils for the alleviation of flooding in a number of major urban areas which are subject to periodical localised flooding.