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Flood defence report for Galway City still not ready


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Flood defence report for Galway City still not ready

From the Galway City Tribune – As the ‘temporary’ flood defence barrier was removed from Spanish Arch last week, city councillors received a report confirming that plans for a permanent solution are still not ready.

Councillors were due to receive an update on flood defences at last month’s Council meeting, but the item was deferred to a meeting later in May.

In the written report to councillors, seen by the Galway City Tribune, it has been confirmed that the types and locations of flood defences “have yet to be developed”.

This comes after over five years of discussions since the Office of Public Works (OPW) issued its Flood Risk Management Plan for Galway – and the requirement for flood defences was confirmed.

In the report, it is confirmed that Galway remains at Stage One of a five-stage programme – and that it will be at least another six winters before the orange boom at Spanish Arch is banished, with 2029 the estimated year of completion for permanent flood defences.

Director of Services, Patricia Philbin, stated in a cover letter that Nimmo’s Pier, Claddagh Quay, Raven Terrace, Wolfe Tone Bridge, Merchants Quay, Long Walk and new Docks, and two areas of Salthill have all been identified as requiring flood defences.

The Coirib go Cósta initiative was set up in 2020 to assess, design and deliver a flood relief scheme for the city, but its first task – compiling available data and carrying out a ‘hydraulic model’ for the city – is only nearing completion today and is expected to be concluded “within the next two weeks”.

The process, which is managed by the City Council, OPW and contracted-consultants Arup, will then move to stage two in which planning documentation is to be compiled.

“The exact types of defence options and exact location/alignments/heights have yet to be developed and this is being currently progressed as part of the scheme optioneering process,” the report to councillors reads.

The report details that the process currently in train was instigated with the issuing of the Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) programme by the OPW and that while it had identified the areas in need of protection, these were subject to change at the completion of the stage one.

“It is very important to note that the programme outlined was developed considering the initial western CFRAM outcomes and prior to the completion of the revised hydraulic model for the scheme.

“The programme will be reviewed when the exact extents of the defences required to protect Galway City from flood risk are determined and finalised,” the report reads.

Responding to this news, Cllr Níall McNelis (Lab), whose shop at Quay Lane has been flooded several times, said the entire process “lacked urgency”.

“There’s an art installation at Spanish Arch at the moment where a light is showing us where the sea could rise to as a result of climate change, and we’re still at Stage One of a process that started in 2017.

“We still don’t know exactly where they are planning to install these protections exactly. We have been told in the past that the redevelopment of the City Museum would coincide with the installation of flood protection barriers at Spanish Arch and that seems to have been dropped,” he said.

“We know we need these protections and it’s just hugely disappointing that we’re looking to at least another six years before they’re in place – the OPW need to get on with it,” he said.

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