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Written Answers - Flood Relief

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 765 No. 3

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 253.  Deputy Catherine Byrne Information on Catherine Byrne Zoom on Catherine Byrne  asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin  if he will provide a report on any works have been undertaken to prevent further flooding of the Poddle river; the cost of these works; the future works that are planned; the way he is helping residents who were affected by flooding last year to secure home insurance and flood cover; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23665/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brian Hayes): Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes Following the serious flooding of houses and commercial properties from the River Poddle, which occurred during the major flood event of October, 2011, South Dublin County Council (SDCC) applied for funding under the Office of Public Works’ (OPW) Minor Works Scheme to undertake a number of measures designed to alleviate flooding from this watercourse. The Minor Works Scheme provides funding to local authorities to undertake projects with an estimated cost of less than €500,000 and which can be completed within a relatively short-time frame.

The OPW approved funding of €250,000 to the Council in March this year under the Scheme to undertake a number of measures along the River Poddle. The measures consist of the redesign and reinstallation of three trash screens, works at two pedestrian bridges and channel maintenance. The progression of these measures is a matter for the Council. In addition to the measures outlined above, the OPW is to fund and undertake direct works costing an estimated €200,000 to increase the attenuation capacity at the Tymon Park ponds. Consultants have been commissioned to design earthen embankments and a wall in Tymon Park to double the storage of water in the existing ponds.

The consideration of flooding matters on the River Poddle on a long-term basis is being addressed through the ongoing Eastern Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Study, which was commissioned in 2011 as part of the OPW’s national CFRAM programme. This study will identify and examine in detail the cause of flooding throughout the eastern catchment, and produce an integrated plan of specific measures to address the signifi[391]cant flood risk factors in a pro-active and comprehensive way. A detailed assessment of the flood risk pertaining to the River Poddle will be undertaken as part of this study and measures formulated to address the issues arising. The consultants have been asked to accelerate this element of the study.

In relation to the difficulties some people may be experiencing in obtaining insurance cover for flood risk, I have had discussions recently with the major insurance companies in the Irish market and officials in my Office are currently engaged with the Irish Insurance Federation (IIF) in relation to this matter. The industry has indicated to me that the incidence of households or businesses being refused cover or being charged excessive premiums is marginal and that where it arises the causes are complex with each case being assessed in light of the particular circumstances applying. The OPW and the IIF are keen to establish a sustainable means of sharing information on areas vulnerable to flooding and on identifying flood defence works carried out or funded by the OPW and the impact of those works in reducing the risk of flooding in areas where flooding previously occurred. The OPW has provided some information to the IIF but work is ongoing to clarify a number of issues with a view to agreeing with the IIF a viable basis on which information can be provided. There are complex technical issues involved concerning the design standards and risk levels of defence works and maintenance arrangements. My officials will continue to work with the IIF to finalise matters as soon as possible.

In addition to the exchange of technical information with the IIF, I am keen that more information is gathered on the extent of the problems being experienced by members of the public in obtaining insurance. In this regard I understand that the Irish National Flood Forum, who I met recently, will be undertaking a survey to gather as much information as possible in this area from their member organisations. Details should be available shortly on its website The OPW will continue to keep the matter under review with the IIF.

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