Wave of anger over lack of funds for Limerick flood defences

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Cllr Maurice Quinlivan and local community activist John Costelloe
Cllr Maurice Quinlivan and local community activist John Costelloe

THE lack of any government response to an application by Limerick City and County Council for funding for flood defences has been condemned by Sinn Féin councillor for City North, Maurice Quinlivan.

Following the devastating floods, which hit the city at the beginning of the year, an application was made in February by the then Limerick City Council for funding to develop, maintain and construct flood defences in the King’s Island area.

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In June this year, over a thousand residents in St Mary’s Parish signed a petition calling for new flood defences along the nearby riverbank, claiming the “patch up job” they currently have is totally ineffective. Residents in St Mary’s Parish now believe the riverbank will be breached again and are fearful they will be faced with another nightmare situation like in February of this year when their homes were left under several feet of river water.

“The job still hasn’t been done right after the floods earlier this year. I believe without a shadow of a doubt the river will flood again,” one concerned resident told the Limerick Post.

Cllr Quinlivan insists proper flooding defences are essential in protecting King’s Island and other parts of the city.

“We have had six months of silence from the government on this matter, despite the fact that we now have two senior ministers from Limerick sitting in cabinet. The lack of any response to date is scandalous and shows scant regard for the residents of King’s Island,” fumed Cllr Quinlivan.

The Northside councillor inspected the areas of concern last weekend and spoke of the growing fears of the local community.

“There is now real concerns among residents of King’s Island as we head into another winter that the river bank may collapse again. Although temporary work has been done, it is very clear that the bank is collapsing and residents have real fears of another devastating flood,” he commented.

“The Government was quick to make promises in the immediate aftermath of the flooding, while RTE cameras were rolling. Residents were promised that they would get the assistance needed, but half a year on they are still in the dark as to what this assistance may be,” Quinlivan claimed.

According to the Sinn Féin party leader on the merged Limerick City and County Council, the application from the local authority was for a minimum of €9 million in funds, based on the level of work needed in the areas to ensure that flooding on this level would not reoccur.

“This government has had no problem finding funding to bail out bankers, but the urgent needs of our city’s citizens are an altogether different matter. I am calling on Ministers Noonan and O’Sullivan to address this issue without any further delay,” he concluded.