Council Fears of Damage Claims Rules Out Flood Aleviation Programme

Mayor of Killarney Municipal District Mayor, Cllr. Niall Kelleher was one of the politicians who met Minister Moran in Castleisland in July.
Mayor of Killarney Municipal District Cllr. Niall Kelleher was one of the politicians who met Minister Moran in Castleisland in July.

In a letter to Mayor of the Killarney Municipal District, Niall Kelleher, Charlie O’Sullivan, Kerry County Council Director of Services ruled out dealing with the complications of Castleisland’s flooding problems under the proposed Office of Public Works funded Minor Works Programme.

The letter from Mr. O’Sullivan to Mayor Kelleher came about from a meeting of local politicians with the Minister Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran at Castleisland Community College last July.

Application to the OPW

At that meeting Minister Moran urged the politicians to get Kerry County Council to make an application to the OPW for funding under the Minor Works Flood Relief Programme.

The findings included in the council commissioned consultants’ report will surely strengthen the case of the residents in the Churchtown to Tullig areas.

The initial council proposals to pipe the extra flooding problems at Kilbanivane Cemetery over the few hundred yards into the Anglore Stream now seem dead in the water – if the report is to be taken seriously.

Churchtown has its own Troubles

This would greatly add to the problems already downstream of these areas and, especially, when Churchtown has its own troubles with flooding without adding the considerable volumes of water from the Kilbanivane area.

Residents there have pointed out solutions to Kerry County Council staff and consultants in recent times and have further pointed out works carried out by a local farmer which alleviated flooding on his farm to the north of the cemetery.

Farmer’s Plan

If the farmer’s plan was implemented further along the Glounsharoon River, say the residents, the flooding problems would bypass the cemetery at Kilbanivane and the town on its way to join the River Maine west of the town.

Mr. O’Sullivan’s letter to Mayor Kelleher:

I refer to the recent representations made by councillors at a meeting with Minister Kevin Moran T.D., regarding flooding at a number of locations, including in Castleisland.

It was agreed that the Council would consider an application to the OPW under the Minor Works Flood Relief Programme, for the construction of a barrier at a low point of the Shanowen River, provided that such measures would not have a negative impact on other properties in the town.

Kerry County Council's Charlie O'Sullivan says that the council's fear of damages claims has ruled out proposed flood alleviation works in Castleisland.
Kerry County Council’s Charlie O’Sullivan says that the council’s fear of damages claims has ruled out proposed flood alleviation works in Castleisland.

Whilst acknowledging that the flood waters, from the river at this location, caused concern with the potential risk of water damage to the school, during the severe weather experienced in December 2015, the construction of the barrier at this location would remove a natural flood plain and the displaced water could potentially cause further flooding in other parts of the town.

Consulting Engineers

The Council retained the services of Messr. Mort MacDonald, Consulting Engineers, who had previously modelled the river as part of the CFRAMS study, to assess the impact of this proposal.

As the CFRAM Studies also identified a number of measures of flood protection in Castleisland which includes the construction of an embankment/wal1 around the sclool and along tlie river walk, the Consultants were also asked to look at the implications of carrying out these embankment works, in advance of the rest of the suite of measures proposed in the CFRAM study.

Completed their Assessment

Messr. Mort MacDonald have now completed their assessment and advised as follows :- (i) “The proposal (raising/filling a low point on the left bank of the Shanowen River which has been identified as an initial path for flooding) is not deemed viable as it would result in increased flood levels immediately downstream at the confluence(40mm) and further upstream at Tullig (120mm)”

Castleisland Flooding 24-1-2014
Castleisland Community College where the flood waters went to within a few inches on the door before receding in January 2014. ©Photograph:John Reidy

(ii) “The proposal (constructing only the proposed flood defence wall and embankments at the Community College) is not deemed viable as it would result in increased flood levels (120mm) and flood damage upstream at Tullig and on the Anglore Stream.”

Risk of Claims for Damages

In his letter to Mayor Kelleher, Mr. O’Sullivan then explained the council’s response to the findings of the consultants’ report thus: “On the basis of this report, I cannot recommend that we make an application for these works under the Minor Works and Flood Relief Programme as it would increase the risk of flooding in other parts of the town and expose the Council to potential risk of a claim for damages as a consequence of our actions.

“It is important to note that whilst access to the school was affected by the flooding event in 2015, there was no reported damage to school property.

The alternative option is to seek the prioritised implementation of the works identified in the CFRAMS study for Castleisland, through the Minister’s office, as it is not feasible to address the flood risk under the Minor Works programme.”


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