Children’s hospital further delays ‘essential’ Clonlara flood works

Flooding in Clonlara

OVERSPEND on the National Children’s Hospital project has resulted in a further delay in ‘essential’ flood-defence works at Springfield in Clonlara.

In November last, environmental objections forced Clare County Council to withdraw planned works for the area, an outcome that caused major frustration among local residents, many whom have been flooded out of their homes in recent years.

Now, major concerns have been raised that a €3 million cut back on flood prevention works nationwide have ensured that no definitive time-frame has been set out for the proposed project in Clonlara.

In 2015, residents in Springfield were evacuated from their homes, an incident that local councillor, Cathal Crowe (FF) doesn’t want to see happening again.

“Minister Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran recently donned his wellies and walked the banks of the Shannon River with Springfield residents,” he said.

“He has a good grasp of the problem they face and has shown an interest from the get-go in finding a solution to it.

“It is, however, very worrying that the Springfield works are being scrutinised by Minister Moran’s colleague Minister Donohue, who aims to achieve an overall saving of €3 million in capital expenditure on flood defence measures.

“The residents of Springfield had high hopes that works to protect their homes would commence this summer but now it’s looking very unlikely that anything will happen within this calendar year,” added Cllr Crowe.

Following the withdrawal of plans in November, in order to fully assess certain environmental matters, a further application will be made shortly.

In response to a recent query asking if planned flood relief schemes on the lower section of the river Shannon will progress as planned, Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe (FG) spoke about the need to make the savings in view of the national children’s hospital overspend.

 “Arising from the Government decision of Tuesday, February 12 in relation to capital reallocations related to the cost overrun on the National Children’s Hospital, the Office of Public Works is reviewing the most appropriate means of achieving the required capital savings of €3 million in the flood risk management area,” he said.

 “Expenditure on any particular project or programme in any year is dependent on many variables related to the progress of the project and programme.

“The OPW can state that all capital projects committed to will be delivered,” added Minister Donohoe.

Despite the €3 million cutbacks, the flood prevention scheme for Clonara has been earmarked as one of the prioritised schemes that will go ahead “in the near future”.

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