Burnfoot flood relief decision expected ‘in very near future’

Gerald Gallagher examines the raw sewage at the rear of his house in Parc An Grianan, Burnfoot, after the river bank burst during flooding in August.
Gerald Gallagher examines the raw sewage at the rear of his house in Parc An Grianan, Burnfoot, after the river bank burst during flooding in August.

A decision on flood relief measures in Burnfoot is to be made “in the very near future.”

Responding to a query from the ‘Journal’ this week, following concern that the village had not been included in a recent announcement on nationwide flood relief, a spokesperson for the OPW said a plan is currently being assessed.

It said: “There are a number of communities that will be subject to further assessments by the OPW to determine if a flood relief scheme is viable. Burnfoot is the first of these communities for which a further assessment is being carried out. The OPW is undertaking this further assessment to determine, through more localised assessment and including a review of any change in the hydrological circumstances for the town, if a flood relief scheme is viable for the protection of the town.

“The OPW’s further assessment of Burnfoot is nearing completion. The Minister expects to be in a position to make a decision and an announcement in relation to Burnfoot in the very near future.”

However, resident Gerald Gallagher, who was forced out of his home by flood waters last August, said the response does not go far enough.

He said: “Minister Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran stood in the middle of my kitchen in August and told us not to worry, that all the residents would be back in our houses by Christmas.

“I don’t really think much of that response. We’re getting different emails and responses. We couldn’t believe that we weren’t included in the announcement last week.”

Senator Padraig MacLochlainn said he understood that an announcement is around three to four weeks away. He said he had met with the Minister “face-to-face” and was informed each time that flood measures would be put in place in Burnfoot.

He said: “I’m holding him to that. I don’t mind it going through the proper process but he promised it was going to happen. I expect the good faith I’ve shown to him to be returned.”

Donegal North East Deputy Charlie McConalogue also raised the issue in the Dail on Wednesday and asked the Taoiseach to intervene and ensure funding is put in place.

Deputy McConalogue added it was “crucial” that flood relief measures are delivered to the village.