CORK North West TD Aindrias Moynihan has said that he is deeply concerned that no real progress has been made with regard to the Ballymakeera-Ballyvourney Flood Relief Scheme in the past two years.
‘I’ve been informed that it is still at outline design stage where the preferred options of the scheme are being finalised,’ he said. ‘This confirms what we have known all along. Little or no progress has happened over the past two years. Residents saw exhibitions in 2011 and draft designs were advancing in 2014. Two years later, and we are stuck at fundamentally the same place, and local residents are sceptical that this project will ever move to full design, let alone construction phase.’
Deputy Moynihan said that Minister Canney, in his response in the Dáil, said an environmental survey was carried out to establish the status of the freshwater pearl mussel population that inhabits the River Sullane and the likely impact of works on the river environment.
‘The freshwater pearl mussel has always been in the river and we have lived together for a long time. It is important that the mussel be protected, but the proposed defences are not in the river but up river banks, set back some distance and with walls,’ said Deputy Moynihan. A solution, developed to protect the population and allow the proposed works to continue, has been submitted to the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and has been approved, he said.
‘The Minister confirmed to me that a second Public Information Day and a public exhibition of the preferred design will take place in 2017. These need to happen early in 2017, and not allowed be put on the long finger,’ he added.
‘We need to see the Government moving on this issue, and moving through the process as quickly as possible. As a local TD, I will be lobbying hard for the project to move to full design as quickly as possible, and as soon as the public exhibition is completed,’ concluded Deputy Moynihan.