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Tide turns on State funding for flood relief



State authorities should fund individual flood barriers and other mitigation measures for homes in areas that do not meet the current cost benefit analysis criteria, according to a submission by Galway County Council.

In its response to the Western Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) plan drawn up by the Office of Public Works (OPW), the local authority has called on those cost benefit analysis criteria to be changed for rural areas.

The Council has also called for a voluntary home relocation scheme to be set up for homes under constant risk of flooding where works to lessen the risk were not carried out.

Galway County Council said it welcomed the flood protection measures proposed for Clifden and Claregalway – the latter is currently being built.

“However, Galway County Council is concerned that the many other measures that have been identified to offer flood protection to affected properties in the various AFA’s [areas for further assessment] are not being progressed because they do not meet the required cost benefit criteria,” according to the submission.

“Galway County Council requests that the OPW reviews the cost benefit criteria for minor works schemes and develops a scheme that offers assistance for individual property protection so that the measures and recommendations identified in the draft FRMP’s [Flood risk Management Plan] might be implemented in the lifetime of this plan.

“Galway County Council requests that the OPW assists the relevant body or agency on the implementation of a voluntary home relocation scheme for property owners that can avail of these schemes.”

While the maps drawn up as party of the study will prove an invaluable tool in the management of future floods, the majority are centred around towns and villages and exclude rural areas. The Local Authority asks for a revision of the assessment areas when the next management plan is drawn up to ensure flood protection measures can be identified across all of the county.

“Galway County Council want to see measures like voluntary home relocation, flood forecasting, promotion of individual and community resilience and individual property protection advanced at the earliest possible date by the appropriate body and that adequate funding is made available so that these policies can be realised for those people affected by repeated flooding,” it urged.

Larger schemes should not take precedence over smaller schemes.

“Galway County Council has a particular concern that in many of the AFA’s where flood protection measures have been identified, these schemes are not likely to advance because the minimum cost benefit criteria cannot be achieved. This is of little comfort to the property owners at risk of flooding.”

As an example, it points to water flowing onto Crowe Street in December 2015 from the flood plain at the back of Lidl, requiring sandbags and pumps to be deployed.

“If the embankments or flood walls identified as flood protection measures were constructed this flood risk could have been mitigated against.”

In Tuam, the Council wants any structures identified as being at risk of blockage to be replaced while in Roundstone it calls for the quay wall to be upgraded to act as a flood defence system. Recommendations for channel and flood defence walls to be maintained in Clifden should be taken over by a State body and properly funded.

Councillor Donagh Killilea (FF) said 30 homes affecting by last winter’s flooding were deeply disappointed by the lack of a scheme approved for Gardenfield, which failed to meet the cost criteria.

Rather than wait for the next assessment to be done in six years, the OPW should explore individual home protection for areas such as this, according to the Council.

Connacht Tribune

Man in his 70s killed in South Galway crash



A man in his 70s has died following a crash in South Galway on Tuesday afternoon.

Gardaí are currently at the scene of the two-car crash, which occurred at around 3.35pm on the N18 at Kiltartan.

The driver and sole occupant of one of the vehicles, a man in his 70s, was pronounced dead at the scene. His body was taken to University Hospital Galway where a post-mortem examination will be conducted at a later date.

The driver and sole occupant of the other vehicle involved, a man in his 30s, was taken to University Hospital Galway for treatment of his injuries which are believed to be non-life threatening.

The road is currently closed and will be closed overnight awaiting an examination by Garda Forensic Collision Investigators have been requested.

Gardaí have appealed for any witnesses or road users with dash cam footage to contact them. 

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Connacht Tribune

Schools and colleges in Galway advised to close for Storm Barra



Schools in Galway have begun informing parents that they will not open tomorrow, following advice from the Department of Education.

The Dept said this evening that schools, colleges and universities in areas where a Status Orange or Red warning apply for Storm Barra should not open.

A spokesperson said: “Met Éireann has advised that there is a strong possibility that the status of parts of these counties currently in Status Orange are likely to change and escalate to Status Red.

“Due to the significant nature of Storm Barra, as forecast by Met Éireann and to give sufficient notice to institutions of further and higher education, the department is advising that all universities, colleges and further education facilities covered by the Red Alert and Orange warning from Met Éireann should not open tomorrow, 7 December.

“All schools and third level institutions should keep up-to-date with the current weather warnings which are carried on all national and local news bulletins and in particular any change in the status warning for their area.”

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Emergency accommodation for rough sleepers in Galway during Storm Barra



Arrangements have been made to provide emergency accommodation for rough sleepers ahead of Storm Barra hitting Galway in the morning.

Accommodation will be provided at locations including The Glenoaks in the Westside, the Fairgreen in the city centre and Osterley Lodge in Salthill (Contact 085 8009709 or 085 8009641).

The COPE Galway Day Centre will remain open all day Tuesday from 8.30am to closing.

Meanwhile, Galway City Council has warned that a number of roads may be closed in the morning ahead of high tide, including Salthill Prom.

Following ongoing meetings of the Inter-Agency Co-ordination group today and based on the latest information available, a number of precautionary measures have been put in place.

Road Closures:

  • Closure of Silverstrand Beach at 6pm Monday
  • Closure of Ballyloughane Beach at midnight (Local Traffic only)
  • Closure of Rosshill Road at 6am Tuesday
  • Closure of Salthill Promenade at midnight:
  • Blackrock Tower to Seapoint and onto Grattan Road. (Closure of Grattan Road may be required. Monitoring in place to decide.)
  • Potential closure of roads along the Claddagh, Docks and Spanish Arch from 5am Tuesday

A spokesperson said: “There may be further closures throughout the city as required and the situation will be closely monitored and regular updates given.  Motorists will experience delays as a result.”

The carparks at Toft Park and on the Promenade have been closed and all vehicle owners have been asked to move their vehicles from car parks and along the Prom.

Sand bags are now available at the following manned locations: the former Tourist Kiosk in Salthill (behind Seapoint); Claddagh Hall; Galway Fire Station; Spanish Arch; the Docks (beside the pedestrian crossing at St Nicholas Street).

“Anyone who avails of sandbags should retain them in their possession for use throughout the upcoming winter season. Please do not take any more sandbags than you need,” the Council spokesperson said.

“The main impacts will include strong winds, falling trees and potential flooding.  High tide in Galway Bay will be at 6.45am Tuesday.

“Some trees may be compromised due to saturated soils at the moment, and with more rain forecast with Storm Barra some disruption due to falling trees/branches is likely. Heavy rain, coupled with falling leaves may block drains and gullies, leading to surface flooding. Galway City Council staff have been carrying out drainage maintenance across the city in advance of the storm to minimise potential flooding risks.

“Storm Barra will produce significant swell, high waves and sizeable storm surges. This will lead to wave overtopping, some coastal flooding and damage, especially along western and southern coasts,” the Council said.

Business owners and homeowners are advised to check their own drains and secure any loose objects within their property in advance of the warning taking effect.

“Galway City Council advises remaining indoors during the period of the warning and, as always, to avoid coastal areas. Parks and other wooded areas should also be avoided, due to the danger of falling trees. If absolutely essential to travel, please exercise extreme caution out and about especially on coastal roads and exposed shores.

“City Council staff will be on standby for clean-up following the passing of Storm Barra and the associated warning once it has been deemed safe to do so.  Please note the associated clean-up which will commence on Wednesday morning may impact on traffic.”

Galway City Council Customer Services phone lines are available to deal with emergency calls on 091 536400. For the Galway County Council area, the phone number is 091 509069.

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