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Covid-19 to hit Mountmellick Flood Relief Scheme but Minister Flanagan says project will still happen

Mountmellick was under siege from floods this week
Mountmellick was under siege from floods in 2017

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has said that concerns have been raised over the past few weeks regarding the future of the Mountmellick Flood Relief Project in the backdrop of the current Covid-19 crisis.

The town was hit by devastating floods in 2017 and approval for a much needed flood relief scheme was granted in 2019.

The Coronavirus pandemic means that money that had been set aside for this project may not now be spent this year but Minister Flanagan says the Office of Public Works is still committed to completing it.

Speaking from the Dail this yesterday afternoon, Minister Flanagan stated: “I spoke to my colleague Minister Kevin Moran about the importance of progressing this project without delay.

“Minister Moran visited Mountmellick twice following the flooding in the town to see the devastation it caused first-hand, and he has advised me of the following:

“Total expenditure on the Mountmellick Flood Relief project to date is as follows: Expenditure in 2019: €127,683.07; Expenditure in 2020 (to date): €66,897.83

“The expenditure to date on the project all relates to preparatory design and survey work. Following the Public Information Day last November substantial feedback was received from members of the public regarding the broad outline of the proposed scheme and its programme for implementation. This feedback is informing the further development of the scheme design.

“At the outset, it was estimated that there would be expenditure in the region of €475,000 in 2020. However, due to the current Covid-19 related restrictions this figure may not be realised, however I have been assured that the situation is being kept under close review.

“Minister Moran has informed me that in relation to projected spend for the next three years, Consultants are working on their data review with a view to selecting a preferred option. Until this work is finalised it is difficult to provide meaningful yearly projections beyond 2020.

“I wish to assure members of the public that the Office of Public Works has guaranteed me that is committed to this project. The necessary funding to progress the project is available within the overall allocation of €1 billion made available by the Government for flood relief in the National Development Plan 2018 – 2027.”

It is envisaged that construction on the scheme will begin in August 2022 and will finish in December of that year.

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