MINISTER VOWS FLOOD SCHEME WILL GO AHEAD
Dr Martin Mansergh, the Minister for State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, has given his assurances that works on a flood relief scheme for Fermoy will go ahead this spring, writes Joe Leogue.
Speaking in Mallow last week Dr Mansergh said flood relief in Fermoy was ‘an absolute priority’ for his office.
“When flooding affects people’s lives, homes and businesses like it does in Fermoy, then it has to be tackled. All the evidence shows that once the defences are put in place, it will be very effective,” Dr Mansergh said.
The South Tipperary TD added that if the works could be combined with a proposed renovation of the Fermoy weir, efforts would be made to minimise the costs of the combined projects.
“Hopefully the dispute surrounding the weir can be resolved before too long. If there is a satisfactory solution for all parties, then the flood scheme and the weir can be done simultaneously. The weir is a Department of Communications issue, whereas the flood scheme falls under the OPW, but if costs could be brought down by combining the two, then it would make sense to do so,” he said.
Dr Mansergh once again confirmed that the scheme has funding earmarked for work to take place this year.
“The funds have been set aside for the scheme and I hope it will be completed by 2011, but it may take as long as 2012,” he concluded. Mayor of Fermoy Tadhg O’Donovan was critical of the comments made, however and said Minister Mansergh’s position ‘added insult to injury’ by implying that the two schemes were to be done together.
" Cllr O’Donovan said Minister Mansergh’s stance was an attempt to hold the community in Fermoy ‘to ransom’ as the minister and his colleagues in government were conscious that all efforts to date to ‘coerce the people of Fermoy into excepting the removal of the town weir had failed miserably.’
“Now the latest red herring to emerge from the Government was that the flood plan could not go ahead without the town’s weir being removed,” he said. Mayor O’Donovan said that all the victims of flooding in the town have had over the last decade was a ‘litany of promises and broken deadlines by successive government ministers’.
“The victims of flooding cannot secure insurance under any circumstances yet the response from the Government following such flood is to send a government minister to the town for a photographic opportunity and make a promise of a new deadline as to when work would begin on the scheme,” he added.
Friday 30th January 6:20pm