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Delay on Belmullet flood defences sparks anger

News

Anton McNulty

Donald Trump will have built his wall on the Mexican border quicker than flood defence walls will be built in Erris, according to a local councillor.
Geesala-based councillor Gerry Coyle made the comment at last week’s meeting of the West Mayo Municipal District, after expressing his frustration at the lack of progress in building flood defence walls in Belmullet.
“What is going on with the wall in Belmullet?” he asked in frustration. “There was €50,000 granted and you would swear to God it was now used for drying seaweed. When the tide comes up, there is loads of it [seaweed] out on the road. It seems to be getting worse and worse there behind in Belmullet and nothing seems to be done.
“Trump will have the wall built and the whole Mexican border blocked off before that one. It is terrible the way it is,” he said.
The Erris peninsula was one of the areas hit hardest in the county by Storm Callum last October with flooding blocking the main Belmullet to Blacksod road. Following the storm damage, €375,000 was allocated to Mayo County Council with €100,000 allocated for the Erris area.
Belmullet-based councillor Teresa Whelan also lamented that work has not been carried out on the sea wall at Belmullet and claimed it has got worse since Octobers storms. She called on representations to be made to the relevant departments to prioritise extra funding for the area.

High tides
Kieran Lynn, Senior Engineer with Mayo County Council, accepted that recent high tides have exacerbated the damage but it was the intention of the Council to complete the works in the area.
Meanwhile, councillors were informed that there was no funding available to repair the flood wall at Rossanrubble near Newport.
Padraic Walsh, Head of the Municipal District, explained they were unsuccessful in their application for emergency funding to repair the damage and at the moment there was no other source of funding available to them.
The issue of flooding at Rossanrubble was raised by Independent councillor Michael Holmes who said that he was disgusted about how continued flooding was destroying farmland in the area.
“It is in a proper mess and it hard to think land could go so bad with slime on it...it is absolutely disgusting to see the look of it. It is a small problem but it is getting bigger every time there is a high tide with wind behind it,” he said.
Cllr Holmes said that with climate change there are higher tides and feared that if there is a combination of a high tide and a storm behind it, ‘there would be no Carrowholly to be talking about it’.
Mr Walsh accepted this but added that ‘the unfortunate reality is that it is unlikely that every kilometre of coastline will be protected due to the sheer scale of it’. He said the Climate and Environment section of the council were doing a lot of work on this and suggested they brief councillors on their work.