DfI ‘struggling’ but ‘gullies need cleaned’

Foyle SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan.
Foyle SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan.

Foyle MLA Mark H. Durkan has said he understands the Department for Infrastructure is struggling under a heavy workload but has insisted more needs to be done to clean gullies and prevent flooding.

Blocked drains and gratings were a particular issue in Eglinton, he said. But having contacted DfI he said he was told gullies would only be attended to once “resources and manpower become available.”

“Whilst I have no doubt that the Department are struggling under a heavy workload and increasingly diminishing resources, it is totally unacceptable that an area which has previously been devastated by flooding, this time two years ago, is not being placed as high priority.

“In many cases drainage in the area has become heavily compacted with dirt and leaves, Mill Path, Main Street, Coolafinny Road and Ballygudden proving particularly bad. This in addition to this week’s especially heavy rainfall, has the potential to create the perfect conditions for flooding. We must ensure that every precaution is taken, every measure acted upon in a timely manner to minimise this risk and safeguard the Eglinton area from a repeat of previous destruction. However, blame does not lay solely at the door of the Department for Infrastructure, this is yet another issue compounded by our lack of an Assembly,” said Mr. Durkan.

A DfI spokesperson responded: “Local staff in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area recognise the importance of keeping road gullies clean and free from obstruction.

“There are approximately 48,000 gullies in the Council area. The Department endeavours to clean all gullies at least once every year as resources permit. It is acknowledged that the gullies in Eglinton were last cleaned in March 2018 and were not attended to during the 2018/2019 financial year. However, the Department is hopeful that a recent increase in resources in the area will facilitate the cleaning of gullies in Eglinton within the next few weeks.”