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OPW only ‘paying lip service’ to Crossmolina – councillor


NOT A CASE OF HISTORY REPEATING  There were fears water levels on the River Deel at the weekend would rise to levels like seen here in 2015 and flood the town of Crossmolina. The town just about avoided a repeat. Pic: Paul Mealey

Anton McNulty

THE Office of Public Works (OPW) is only paying ‘lip service’ to the people of Crossmolina according to a local councillor after the town narrowly escaped another flooding incident after heavy rain over the weekend.
Flood defence barriers were erected at strategic locations around Crossmolina in the early hours of Saturday morning as the River Deel continued to rise and threatened to come over the bridge.
The rising river levels resulted in Chapel Road being closed off for a short period as the water seeped through the wall and while the water levers came level with the bridge, the water did not spread through the town.
Cllr Michael Loftus, a member of the Crossmolina Flood Action Group, who erected the barriers, told The Mayo News that there was a massive relief that the water levels dropped on Saturday morning. However he stressed there is a real sense of fear of flooding every time there is heavy rain.
“We kept monitoring the waterlevel.ie website and checking the levels at Keenagh and they kept rising and rising. It takes about three hours for the water to reach Crossmolina and there was a massive fear and worry that the water would hit the bridge and spread through the town. Thankfully this time it did not but you have to ask the question if we are worrying on August 31, what will it be like in the winter?” he commented.
According to the Met Éireann weather station report from Furnace near Newport, 48.7mm of rain fell on Friday, August 30 while 228.9mm in total fell in August, with 132.5mm the monthly average.
Crossmolina has suffered significant flooding in recent years and although some remedial works such as the fitting of non-return valves and individual floodgates for businesses and homes have been fitted, the community are concerned about the long wait they face for a bypass channel.  
The OPW have yet to start work on the bypass channel and Cllr Loftus said nothing is being done on the ground.
“Not a thing is being done on the ground and all we hear about is consultants for this and that. Nothing seems to be happening and we only seem to be getting lip service from the OPW. Every time there is heavy rain there is concern that it will lead to flooding in the town. It has gone beyond a joke at this stage. It is not fair on the community, on businesses or residents who have to live with this fear,” he said.
Meanwhile Cllr John O’Malley has called on the OPW and Mayo County Council to clean the Mayour River in Kilmeena after acres of farmland was flooded over the weekend.
“An awful lot of land was flooded over the weekend and it was like a lake. There was no houses flooded but those fields are destroyed now and farmers won’t be able to put cattle out on them until the spring. The river hasn’t been cleaned in a long time and I am calling on the OPW and the council to clean it. If it is cleaned it will allow water out quicker after heavy rain and not flood as often,” he said.