State of Glounsharoon River Can’t be Ignored in Kilbanivane Graveyard Solution


One of the many flood created dams in the Glounsharoon River up-stream of the frequently flooded Kilbanivane Cemetery. ©Photograph: John Reidy
The disturbing and sad consequences of the Kilbanivane flooding saga. ©Photograph: John Reidy

Printed below, is a reply to a joint motion by Cllr. Bobby O’Connell and Cllr. Niall Kelleher on the rumbling issue of the flooding of Kilbanivane Cemetery.

The reply is from Charlie O’Sullivan, Director of Services at Kerry County Council.

Anglore Stream Consequences

Taken into account here in this reply, and for the first time, is the consideration of the consequences of diverting the graveyard flooding eastwards to the Anglore Stream – and to the dangers that would pose to the dwellings in its catchment.

These dwellings span the areas from Churchtown to Tullig and the abandonment of this ‘solution’ will be welcome news for the people with homes and property in the area.

Overhaul of River

Several people closely involved with the ongoing flooding issues at Kilbanivane Cemetery would argue that any proposed solution that doesn’t involve a serious overhaul of the nearby Glounsharoon River simply won’t work.

The river is a major player in this problem and its state of ill-health impacts heavily on its catchment – as we know.

Neglect by OPW

I travelled a good stretch of the river recently with a local landowner and he pointed out its ailments and its potential for further flooding.

This is clearly due to ongoing neglect by the Office of Public Works. There are flood created dams at least every 100 yards of the shallow bedded river from Ballinahoun Bridge down towards the town. And most of these look like they’ve been there for years.

Build-up and Blockage

Many of the trees on its banks are badly undermined and dying and some have fallen across the river with the resulting build-up and blockage.

The worst of these are situated up-river from the cemetery.

Bottom of the Saucer

The cemetery, being at the bottom of the geographical saucer, is at the mercy of the flooded and dammed river.

There are places where even minor floods deposit stones and alluvial matter on the low banks of the river.

It would be greatly welcomed locally if the proposals of fitting a valve on the pipes at the graveyard put forward by Mr. O’Sullivan worked in alleviating the flooding there.

Local knowledge, the likes of that imparted by my guide on our trek along the Glounsharoon River, should be taken seriously and for very obvious reasons – as you’ll see from the photographs.

Reply by Mr. O’Sullivan to Cllr O’Connell and Cllr. Kelleher

I refer to previous requests by the members for an assessment of the flooding issues at Kilbanivane Cemetery.

Members will be aware that Kerry County Council had an initial proposal to construct a piped drain from the cemetery, eastwards over a distance of approximately 6000m to the Anglore stream, which had been recommended in a report prepared by independent consultants back in 1995.

Local concerns were subsequently expressed with this proposal. The CFRAMS study, commissioned by the OPW, also identified the Anglore stream as a source of flooding at both Churchtown and Tullig, and recommended that the flow in this stream be reduced by the construction of an impoundment area, close to the discharge point for the proposed pipe.

The assessment of the current flooding issues is now complete and has identified that there are extreme difficulties in constructing a piped drain from the graveyard to the Anglore stream, due to its shallow gradient.

This proposal would increase the risk of flooding to properties along this route as well as increasing the flow in the Anglore stream, which is contrary to the objectives and preferred outcome of the CFRAMS study.

The location of the existing graveyard is a low point in this catchment and currently the surface water drainage system from the cemetery and the road, discharge through a local network of pipes into a ‘sluggaire’ to the west of the burial ground.

During periods of exceptional rainfall, the rise in ground water causes water to overflow from the sluggaire into an adjoining field.

These waters also back-fall through the piped drains into the graveyard and onto the public road.

Following a detailed assessment of the issues, it is proposed to construct a non-return valve on the drains from the road and graveyard to the sluggaire.

This will mitigate for the risk of flooding but will not eliminate the risk.

However, the installation of the non-return valves may allow for pumping of surface flood water contained within the graveyard to the sluggaire after a severe flooding event. The estimated cost of these works is €8,000.


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