€13m Skibbereen flood scheme revealed

Plans for a €13m flood scheme to be implemented in Skibbereen over the next three years were revealed in the town last week.

Consultants RPS revealed plans for 4.2km of embankments, 2.9km of flood walls, four new culverts and four pumping stations to be installed. The system is designed to cater for rising flood waters in excess of the water levels that swept through Skibbereen in November 2009.

In Skibbereen, Minister of State for the Office of Public Works Brian Hayes said funding for the works had been ring-fenced and construction was set to begin next year.

Measures include hard defence solutions (walls and culverts) along the River Ilen and three smaller streams in the town’s environs.

The work requires a multi-faceted approach because ‘no single primary measure will significantly reduce flood risk in Skibbereen’, according to RPS.

Works to be carried out along the River Ilen include embankments and flood walls, localised channel widening and a re-grading of the Marsh area. A flood wall is to be built downstream of Kennedy Bridge.

The scheme includes work to be carried out on three streams flowing through Skibbereen – the Caol, Assolas and Glencurragh. A pump station is to be built on the Glencurragh at the north side of the Schull Road and embankments and a culvert draining into the Ilen will be installed in the Showgrounds area.

The scheme is based on containing flood waters and will rely on a system of non-return valves on gullies and discharge points in order to work.

The works will be constructed to a 200-year design standard, according to RPS officials, meaning the scheme should be able to cater for a 200-year flood event.

Minister Hayes said the €13m cost figure was a guide and the final cost would not be known until tenders are accepted.

He stopped off in Skibbereen, Clonakilty and Cork to discuss the OPW’s role in flood prevention defences last week.

Following last month’s flash flood in Blackpool, Cork, Minister Hayes said Cork City Council needs to take responsibility for the maintenance of flood protection measures.

He said Cork City Council’s suggestion that the OPW was somehow implicated in the flash flood that swept through Blackpool for the second time in nine months on March 21st because of a long-awaited report that has yet to be completed, was ‘off the wall.’

‘That area is prone to flooding and a long-term solution is needed.

The remarks that were made by the (city council) management when the incident happened, suggesting that it was all down to the failure of a report, a report not to be put into the field by the OPW, are quite frankly off the wall,’ Minister Hayes said.

The flood scheme remains on public display at Skibbereen council offices on North Street until May 10th and submissions can be made until May 31st.

Any changes to the plan will be incorporated into the design this year. Construction is expected to begin in 2014 and take two years to complete.