Flooding in Ballylee, Rinrush and Newtown

The following post describes the flooding situation around Ballylee, Rinrush and Newtown that happened in the winters of 2009 and 2015. It introduced they catchment and hydrology, the flooding dynamic and impacts on the communities of Ballylee, Rinrush, Deerpark and Newtown.

The Boleyneendorrish river is sourced in north-west of the Slieve Aughty mountains between the peaks of Sonnagh Old and the mountain peak of Cashlandrumlahan (now the site of the Derrybrien windfarm)

Catchment and Hydrology

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The Boleyneendorrish is sourced from the northern slopes of Cashlaundrumlahan, through Funshadaun and flows in a mainly westerly direction towards Kinvara but this river goes underground about 11km from Kinvara.  In the background you see the Burren and Kinvara Bay

The rivers starts at an elevation of 350m flows through upland townlands of Funshandaun, Bohaboy, Toormacnevin and Kilbeg.

 

 

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Looking toward the source of the Boleyneendorrish River flowing through Toormacnevin/Kilbeg. The Derrbyrien Windfram is on the back right of the photo

 

The river runs through Kilbeg and under several bridges

 

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It then flows into Boleyneendorrish and Gortadragaun and is joined by small streams flowing north from townlands such as Knockoura, Keelderry and Hollymount as well as streams flowing south from Derryvokeel and Scalp. The following is a profile of the flow from Cashlaundrumlahan
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The river flows past Drumminacoosaun and under a beautiful stone bridge towards Ballynahowna and again under another bridge at Farnaun and at this stage is the river is 100m above sea level.

It flows swiftly downstream and becomes the Ballycahalan river which now spits into two rivers, a few hundred metres behind (east) of Gillane’s Service Station. One river flows south as the Annagh and Turra river and lows back into Cloon and the other passes on the Gort side or Gillane’s Service Station and over a waterfall into Cloon. This is the waterfall in flood.

 

These two rivers join another small drain flow from Circular Road, Gort,  to become the Streamstown river which is the river that flows by Thoor Ballylee Castle.

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The Boleyneendorrish river becomes the Ballycahalan river and passes under the road close to Gillane’s service station, past Cloonweir and it then becomes the Streamstown river as is passes Ballylee Castle

The river has a weir and outlet that had been used to power a mill in W.B Yeats’ time and it flows past this old millhouse and millers cottage.

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Just downstream from Thoor Ballylee lies the ruins of an old mill and millers cottage.

After a few hundred metres downstream from the mill the river turns abruptly west and flows into a swallow hole called Pollanoween (also known and the Hammer Sinks) through crevices between boulders.

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Note – as the river veers west, another branch veers east and sinks in a swallow hole called Pollaleen.  Depending on the time of the year, this river can flow in both directions. In a low-water table Pollaleen acts as a sink and water can drain out from Ballylee.  In wet winters, if Lough Coy and Blackrock Turloughs rise significantly, then the sink can become a risk and flow towards Pollanoween.

At Pollanoween, the river goes underground in a north-west direction and re-emerges behind the Church in Kiltartan in a hole called Poulacapple.

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The underground section is shown in green and flows close to Newtown hill across the N18 and into Kiltartan at Poulacapple
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The underground river (Green) emerging into Poulacapple in Kiltartan

From here, the Kiltartan river runs for about 1 mile and then sinks and re-emerges and flows into Coole Lake,  where it then sinks underground and comes out at Kinvara. Another interesting point is the rise in Kiltartan (Polldeelin) is the meeting point of another underground river coming from the Gort River.

The linkage between Kiltartan and Ballylee can be seen here in a concept drawing. It’s roughly 3km in length and can go as deep as 82m (Well below sea level)

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There is roughly a 3-4m level drop between Ballylee and Kiltartan.  According to [1] Artur Kozlowski he dived 1.5 km from Poulacapple toward Pollanoween and he hit a depth of 71 m. Also he dived an unknown hole in Newtown that he named Pollindre [4] which brought him to a depth of 82m.

The swallow at Pollanoween is in fact linked to many different underground channels.  Not only does it come into Kiltartan at Poulacapple, it also links up with the rise of the Coole river. It also has links as far a away as Pollaloughaboo and Pollbeahgy in Carrowkilleen over 11km to the North-West.

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Flooding Dynamics

The Ballylee area is very similar to the dynamics described in a previous article Flooding in Grannagh, Blackrock and Skehanna This is where upper catchment drainage flows directly into an underground system and therefore in heavy rainfall these areas are susceptible to rising waters as the underground system is not capable of sinking all of the water.   As with Blackrock, the Ballylee areas have Turloughs (Carrowbaun, Newhall/Newtown and Ballylee Turloughs).  In normal winters, these will rise and store water but in severe winters the water will find an overland course and cause a lot of impacts for the local communities of Rinrush, Deerpark, Cloonanearla, Newtown.

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The Streamstown river flows underground but the area around it is landlocked.  In normal wet winters the Turlough areas around Carrowbaun, Newhall, Ballylee rise and join.

streamstown_normal_winter_levels

This level of flooding can be normal during the a wet winter.  However, if there is excessive rain then the whole area is severely impacted.

Severe Winter Flooding

Once the rainfall goes above a certain level there are several situations that conspire that have a dramatic flooding impact in this area.  The underground systems and Turloughs must handle….

  • Storm surge from the Boleyneendorrish catchment
  • Increased water pressure from Lough Coy and Blackrock Turloughs.  As these Turlough levels rise then the northern swallow hole Pollaleen changes direction and water flows into the Newhall, Ballylee area from the Kilchreest catchment
  • If there is significant rainfall then there can be overground flows from the Kilchreest catchment which can flow through Skehanna and into Carrowbaun, increasing the water flow into the area
  • If Coole Lake or Kiltartan are significantly high then this will impact the level of Kiltartan which will also have an impact on the capacity of underground flows from Ballylee

Rinrush winter flooding

The sum of these effects results is a rapid rise in the Turlough levels and this can result in an overflow through Deerpark/Rinrush area

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From this diagram, the pressures from water coming from Blackrock, Skehanna and Lough Coy along with the Boleyneendorrish surge cause significant flooding in the area and the water eventually flows through Deerpark to meet the Gort River in Castletown

The water overflows through Deerpark and flows across roads and railway track into Castletown where it competes with Gort river to flow underground into Kiltartan.  Here is a snapshot of the overflow through Michael Cahill’s farm in Deerpark.

Again, if we look at this during 2015/2016 flooding levels [3] we see that Ballylee flood levels rises to 19.38m above sea level and Kiltartan rose to 15.01 m (Coole lake level was 14.78m)  which would have put significant pressure on Kiltartan.

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What happens eventually is that the Gort River (at Castletown) and overflow from Ballylee eventually fill up Castletown and Ballyloughaun and this is what starts to flow across the N18 at Kiltartan leading to that iconic ‘Niagara Falls type of situation’

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Overflow from Ballylee and Gort River at Castletown during the 2008 flooding
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Aerial Photograph of N18 Flooding in 2009.  The Ballyloughaun area (Kiltartan Bog) is now saturated with water from Ballylee and Castletown overflows and this starts to cross the N18 (Courtesy Nick Geh)

Interestingly, the flooding in Winter 2015 did not have the same levels because a blocked stone culvert had been replaced with a new one. This is described in the blog Why hasn’t Gort town flooded? 

Basically the new culvert kept the levels of Castletown and Ballyloughaun down (by about 1m) – Here it is in action in Winter 2015 and the levels of Castletown were not as severe as 2009 – but yet still enough to isolate the communities of Rinrush/Deerpark.

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New N18 Culvert diverting water from Ballyloughaun/Castletown

Flooding Impacts

There are some very serious impacts to this flooding situation including:

  • Isolated Community
  • Farmyard flooding
  • Farmland flooding
  • Heritage Impacts – Thoor Ballylee
  • Environmental Impacts

 

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An Isolated Community

One of the worst situations here was that the community around Rinrush, Deerpark and Newtown was completely isolated for a total of 56 days during the Winter 2015 flooding. This meant that 10 families had absolutely no access to the outside world.  The only way that anybody could leave this area was to walk through fields for around 2km. There was a boat that some people used but this was quite risky as it involved crossing moving water and it is simply not acceptable that some of our vulnerable community members have to take these risks.

Over the course of the 56 days, several of these people had critical hospital appointments and had to do this with the risky boat trip.  People here had to try and make it to work every day and some even had to move to alternate accommodation to facilitate this.  The simple task of heading to Gillanes or Gort to get milk, mass or medicines became a significant undertaking.

Not only was this community isolated but it was invisible also.  Very few people could get into them.  There were never any television reports on their plight because they were simply but significantly inaccessible.  Thanks to our recent mobile technology we were only able to get a realistic snapshot when we got to see this through social media.

Homes Flooding

Thankfully there were no homes flooded in Rinrush, however out of 12 homes – 1 was threatened and ended up losing their septic tank also.

Farmyards Flooding

There were two farmyards flooded and as we could see from the previous video this flooding caused great stress and anxiety to people, like Michael Cahill, who had to contend with a river overflowing through his farmyard.

 

This meant that cattle had to be moved out to the land, fodder as inaccessible and damaged.  This caused significant disruption.  It wasn’t possible to get calf-nuts or other farm supplies as the roads were not passable; it fact it took drops from the Air Corps to get animal feed supplements supplied.  Nobody should have to live with this impact every few years – the previous generation had no memories of flooding but this has happened 3-4 times in the past 30 years.

Farms Flooding

There were over 40 farms flooded, some up to several months. 2 farms had over 50 acres flooded and 10 farms had 25-50 acres flooded. Also, many farms were inaccessible during the flooding period.

Heritage/Tourism Impacts – Thoor Ballylee

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I remember 3 years ago visiting TripAdvisor and seeing Thoor Ballylee get 1-Star and it labelled as ‘a national disgrace’ . This was because it had been closed for 6 years due to flooding in 2009.  There was a significant effort by the local community to restore the Castle after flooding and in 2015 there was an official opening of the Castle and it continues to be a major attraction in South Galway.   This was short-lived as the flooding 3 months later filled the castle over 2m of water.

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The Impacts of flooding mean that this wonderful place cannot open to the public without requiring continuous investment and community work.

Environmental Impacts

A significant environmental impact is caused with the washing out of farmyard slurry tanks and septic tanks into the water.  Many people in South Galway have water schemes or private wells that are badly threatened by this level of contamination with animal and human waste as well as farm yard chemicals.  South Galway is also peppered with Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) which need to be protected from this level of pollution and solutions need to be put in place.

Solutions

There are several types of solutions that need to be considered to help combat flooding in this area. For example:

  1. Management of rapid-runoff/Attenuation of the Boleyneendorrish catchment
  2. Emergency Access Route for the community
  3. Swallow Hole Clearing
  4. Keep it flowing!
  5. Farm Building Relocation

Management of Rapid Runoff

The main catchment area for Boleyneendorrish river is 63Km2.  This land now has vast tracts of forestry and there are concerns on the impact of forest drains and roads on the hydrology. It has been proven that deforestation can cause an increase of 15% of rapid run-off and there are also research studies carried out that show negative  long-term impacts of forestry on the hydrology of peatland.   Forestry planning needs to consider impacts to downstream catchment, reduce drainage and provide attenuation solutions in the Catchment.  The South Galway Flood Relief Committee has also shown how a forest road diverted flow from a different catchment into the Boleyneendorrish catchment, adding 10s of acres of additional land to the catchment. Stakeholders such as Coillte have been progressive with proposals for reducing the amount of mound drains and providing areas for attenuation and we will see how this progress in the coming years.

Emergency Access Route for the community.

In addition to better catchment management, there needs to be a provision of an emergency access route for the local community so that they will never be isolated in a severe flooding event.   There could be several options for this and it may involve raised roads and properly sized culverts to cross the flood waters or alternate access proposals.

This is mandatory.

Swallow Hole Clearing

In addition to the previous solutions, the Swallow holes in Ballylee need to be maintained where any blockages can be cleared.

Keep it flowing

When the water was up to the windows in Kiltartan Church in Winter 2015, it was 15.01m above sea level. The level of Coole Lake was at that time was 14.78, only 23 cm below this. This level was already an extra 3-4m of water over the normal summer level of Kiltartan/Polldeelin. This level has to have an impact of the water flow capacity from Ballylee.

If the maximum level of Coole Lake was kept down e.g. by 1-2m, then there would be a larger flow from Ballylee to Kiltartan.   The GSI team that is current working on the flooding analysis of South Galway will be able to calibrate the impact scientifically – it is too complex to guess the additional flow rate of doing something like this.

Farm Building relocation

In addition to the previous solutions, the farmers that have been affected by having their farmyards flooded need to be given proper support for either protection (bunding) or relocation.

In Nov 2017, Joe Healy, president of the IFA said that there must be a national strategy to deal with the significant damage that has occurred on lands and property. This must include relocation as an option in some instances and farmyards must qualify where farmers have had recurring flooding problems.

This needs to be accelerated so that the farming community worst affected in South Galway are given the choice to remove the constant yearly threat to their livelihood.

Summary

Rinrush, Deerpark and Newtown are extremely isolated in times of flooding and there is a devastating impact on these communities.  Flooding overflow from Blackrock powers through Skehanna and then through Rinrush washing out farmyards and having impacts on health, heritage, farming and the environment.   Solutions should look at upper catchment management and ensure that if flooding scenarios happen that this community is not cut-off.  Farmers who’s farm buildings are in the overflow path should have strong support for relocation.  The lower-catchment water levels of Coole and Caherglassaun should be managed to give Blackrock and Ballylee areas the best chance to drain off excessive water.

We cannot and should not tolerate vulnerable communities be left with no choice but to live with flooding.  Solutions should be sought from all angles and they should be delivered quickly.

-David Murray

References

  1. Baptism of Fire : Underwater Exploration beneath the Gort Lowlands: Artur Kozlowski and Jim Warny, 2009, Irish Speleology 18 : 37-42
  2. Groundwater flood risk mapping and management: examples
    from a lowland karst catchment in Ireland, O. Naughton, P.M. Johnston, T. McCormack and L.W. Gill. Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  3. OPW Water levels : https://southgalwayfloods.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/south-galway-flood-levels-winter-2015-2016.xls
  4. http://arturconrad.blogspot.ie/2010/12/new-deep-underwater-cave-discovered-in.html
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What’s happening in 2018 for South Galway Flooding?

I’ve had many people ask the same question over the XMAS break – What’s happening with the floods in South Galway? So I’ve given an outline below on what’s happening.  A quick recap to date  :

  • The design Project Design Brief was released in August and the project put out to tender.
  • 19th Sept 2017 : The results of consultant selection slected ryanhanley as the engineering design consultant
  • 13th-Dec 2017 : The design consultants,  Ryanhanley,  signed the contract to commence project.

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What is the flood relief scheme?

The goal of the South Galway -Gort Lowlands project is to deliver a flood relief solution for South Galway – from Slieve Aughty Mountains to the sea.

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How will this be delivered?

The project will go through 5 stages as outlined below?

Stage 1 Feasibility Study and Preparation of a local Flood Risk Management Plan and General Scheme Development
Stage 2 Public Exhibition/Consultation
Stage 3 Detailed Design & Confirmation
Stage 4 Construction Stage
Stage 5 Handover of Works and Closeout

Where are we in the process?

As of 13th December 2017, the engineering design consultants (RyanHanley) signed the contract and the project design has officially commenced.  The following diagram shows where we are in the process  and the main stakeholders. (The grey boxes show what has been completed to date)

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The project brief indicates contractual timelines from time of project commencement . There are approx:

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*Approx duration as there are approval gates between many of these stages

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What is this going to cost?

The correct answer is ‘We won’t know until the solutions are assessed’  – We hear figures of €48 million (from last analysis ) and €10 million recently in Connaught Tribune However- If we are to believe the process –  These numbers are pie-in-the-sky until we understand the real cost and frequency of flooding and proposals for solutions to this – until then – there should be no numbers considered.  The focus should remain on getting  the right solution and then we can argue about the cost-benefit! What we don’t want is a provisional financial constraint that starts to immediately impact our solution.

What happens in 2018?

2018 is really all about Stage #1 — Deep dive analysis with some high-level solutions in the form of a flood risk management plan :

  • Draft Hydrology Report
  • Flood Hazard Maps
  • Feasibility report
  • Draft Final Reports
  • Draft Flood Risk Management Plan
  • Steering Group Meeting
  • Communications Plan
  • Website

Here are the key deliverables and their expected timeframes:

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So 2018 is really just the starting of the design process – getting all the data in place and some high-level solution options and overall flood risk management plan

At least from the contract signing there is now a fixed timeline in place and we and other stakeholders are very keen to ensure that we monitor progress against these plans

What happens in the meantime if we get flooding?

Galway County Council are currently preparing a ‘South Galway Flood Emergency Response Plan’ – a draft was issued in Nov 2017.  The main goal of the plan is that if South Galway does see itself in the middle of a flooding crisis, our community should expect a co-ordinated and well managed response – rather than the chaos of the past.

Essentially, it takes lessons learned from last flood experience, clarifies emergency criteria and will provide guidelines for flood risk managagement of each key area affected. This will be due for completion by the end of Januray.  The plan should identify the areas and homes at risk, mitigation measures for home protection and access and be able to provide resources – from sandbags to pumps to portaloos.

South Galway Flood Relief Committee met with Galway County Council and Cllr Joe Byrne for an inital review of this proposal and we were happy that there was good progress being made here and will await final plan in the coming weeks.

-David Murray

 

 

Flooding in Grannagh, Blackrock and Skehanna

This article covers some of the flooding scenarios within the Ownshree catchments where the communities of Roxborough, Castleboy, Grannagh, Blackrock and Skehanna are vulnerable to flooding.

Location and Hydrology

This area that we are focusing on is mainly the area west and south west of Loughrea, along the main Loughrea to Gort Road.  The main river flowing through this area is called the Owenshree river which makes it’s grand appearance flowing under the Seven-Eye Bridge close to Kilchreest.

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The Owenshree river is part of 3 main rivers in the Galway Bay South East Catchment and this area in particular is called the Kilchreest Catchment which is sourced from the North Western region of the Slieve Aughty mountains. It can flow as close to 1km from Loughrea lake but will eventually end up in Kinvara bay (Note : Loughrea and easterly Slieve Aughties drain into the Shannon)

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The following diagram shows the profile of the river flow from Slieve Aughties to Kinvara and you can se that Blackrock is at the end of a land-locked basin but has underground connectivity.

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Some of the main areas within the downstream catchment are Kilchreest, Castleboy, Grannagh, Blackrock and Skehanna.   The main upstream sources are Sonnagh, Gortnamannagh, Killeenadeema and lower Glenaclara

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The area of the main sources of the Owenshree river is Sonnagh and one of the highest sources is Lough Belsrah which has a Windfarm (Sonnagh) located next to it.

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Lough Behsrah is an unusual lake located in a valley with steep sides and supposed to be quite deep.  Its about 500m Long and average of 50m across.

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Lough Belsrah (Courtesy of Marco Leen)

Lough Belsrah and small channels from the windfarm flow downstream and are joined from small channels from Gortnamannagh and flow toward the ‘Soldiers bridge’

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Stream coming down from the Sonnagh windfarm

The Sonnagh, Gortnamnnagh areas represent a significant portion of the uplands catchment and these flow to the Soldiers bridge in Gortnamannagh.owenshree2.JPG

There are also areas of Killeenadeema and lower-lying Glenaclara that flow into the Owenshree river and this flows north-west under the Seven-Eye bridge at Kilchreest.

From there the river changes direction from north-west to south-west and heads parallel to the Loughrea-Gort road toward Castledaly and Peterswell.   It first flows through Roxborough (Lady Gregory’s birthplace) ruins and past the old stewards house.  From here the river flows into  Isterkelly and Castleboy where it disappears into swallow holes in the streambed in Ballybackage.  There is connectivity between these swallow holes and to the Coole Demense river rising.

In a normal summer the river fully disappears into the swallow holes and in fact in a normal winter this can be also be the case.  When there are heavy winter rains, these football type of swallow holes overflow downstream into Blackrock Turlough which rises and flows through a number of small swallow holes.

Blackrock Turlough

Blackrock Turlough is located on the left side of the N66 between Gort and Loughrea close to Peterswell.

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In heavy winter rain, it can rise significantly.

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Courtsey of

Blackrock can contain a significant amount of water in wintertime e.g. 4.1 million cubic metres (2006), 4.0 million cubic metres (2007) and 2.47 million cubic metres (2008) and can rise to depths of over 12 metres in some places [1].

One thing about Blackrock is that it’s regarded as a flashy Turlough as it is one of the closest to the Slieve Aughty Mountains – After heavy rains, in over 36 hours, Blackrock Turlough can rise over 10 metres and extend over 2km.

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A single night’s rain can cause Blackrock Turlough to rise (Courtesy : Sean Brady Aerial Photography)

Blackrock Turlough swallow holes have a significant connectivity into the underground river system. The connect to neighbouring Lough Coy and Ballylee and can connect to Kinvara east (close to Dunguaire) and Kinvara Central springs (Pier).

blackrock turlough connectivity

Blackrock connects underground to its close neighbour Lough Coy which then connects to the Ballylee (Ballycahalan  river) and in severe cases, the depth difference and pressure between Blackrock and Ballylee is great (>10m heights) that one of the Ballylee swallow holes starts to reverse and become a rise (Also known as an estevelle) .  The following diagram shows a conceptual model [1] and the type of connectivity from mountain to sea.

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Severe Winter Flooding

As we have seen on many previous blogs, in normal summers and normal winters, these underground systems work perfectly.  Here is a snapshot of the height over 3 years. [1]

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Another way to look at Blackrock is to look at average inflows and outflows and in the above period in ‘filling phase’ is we can see an average inflow to Blackrock is 10m3/S while at the same time it’s outflow is just on average 2m3/s [1].  Therefore, if the 10m3/sec inflow is sustained over a prolonged period, the Turlough fills and starts to become a flood risk.

When you get severe winter rains in the Slieve Aughty mountains, the small swallow holes that can normally sink 2m3/s cannot handle this and like a basin the Turlough levels start to rise,  leading  to significant flooding.  While the maximum volume of Blackrock Turlough in Sept-2006-Sept 2009 as 4.1 Million cubic metres of water, in 2009 the volume reached of 15.9 Million cubic meters at its peak and covered an area in excess of 3 km2.

This Turlough rose to close to 29 m and this caused significant flooding impacts. Here is a profile of Blackrock Turlough during the 2009 winter flooding. [1]

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The level of Blackrock peaks around 29m because it then finds an over ground route which will be discussed below. Similarly with Lough Coy, once it reaches 17m, it will also overflow over ground.

Flooding Dynamics

There are 4 main flooding dynamics when the Owenshree catchment has high levels of rainfall.

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These are as follows:

  1. Flashflooding in Roxborough
  2. Backup and flooding in Blackrock and upstream
  3. Turlough Overflow (Underground)
  4. Turlough Overflow (Overground)

These will be dealt with separately.

Flash-flooding in Roxborough

The first casualty of flooding happens around Roxborough.  The Owenshee river powers under the 7-Eye bridge and turns South-West and into Roxborough.

roxborough_map

The river goes through a narrow bridge and then the river itself narrows and causes a restriction in very high water flows.  With rapid run-off the Slieve Aughty’s these restrictions lead to a water backup and this floods Paddy McGlynns home and farm buildings. Note : This house is a protected building constructed around 1820. (Details here)  and unfortunately floods to about 2ft of water

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The area in Roxborough, close to the old Roxborough House which is prone to flash flooding (McGlynns home – Stewarts house inset)

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The dynamics around flooding in Roxborough. The Bridge and a restriction in the river cause the water to back up and overflow into McGlynns – This only lasts for a few hours but floods a home and farm buildings.

As this is close to the Slieve Aughty mountains, the flooding is flashy.  The flood can come within a few hours and be gone 20 hours later. This type of flooding has happened several times over the past 20 years only.

Backup and flooding in Blackrock and upstream

When there is a large water volume coming down the Owenshree catchment (from Sonnagh, Gortnamannagh and Killeennadeema) then Blackrock Turlough can’t sink all of this water (coming on average at  and starts to rise. If the volume of water is too great then the entire area from Blackrock back to Grannagh starts to fill up. This causes flooding in Castleboy, Grannagh and around Blackrock

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Here Blackrock Turlough has filled back as far as Grannagh and flood homes. Castleboy i
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Looking directly west toward Blackrock. With Grannagh on right. Courtesy of Sean Brady Ariel Photography.

Eventually, if the water runnoff the mountain is voluminous enough, the Blackrock Turlough level reaches a limit (29m above see level) and overflows into Skehanna.

Turlough Overflow (Overground through Skehanna)

Once the level of Blackrock approaches 29 metres (above sea level) – then it finds a outlet close to Limepark house, beside Rahealy.  Some of Turlough is over 16m deep at this stage.

It overflows across the Skehanna to Blackrock road and flows through Colm Burke’s farmyard and in through the village of Skehanna causing severe flooding to the community.  It then makes its way to the Lough Coy overflow.

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The devastation of the overflow close to Rahealy as it comes through Skehanna.
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Blackrock expanding to threaten Coleman’s house (left of Centre). Courtesy of Sean Brady Ariel Photography.
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Blackrock Turlough spilling over into Colm Burke’s farm yard. Courtesy of Sean Brady Ariel Photography.
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The overflow contining into Skehanna and cutting off access. Temporary scaffolding is in place to help with access. Courtesy of Sean Brady Ariel Photography.
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Capturing this from the other side,  with Blackrock Turlough in the background. the flow through Skehanna village can be seen here. Courtesy of Sean Brady Ariel Photography.

Blackrock Turlough Overflow (underground)

As Blackrock gathers a head of volume of water 16m deep in some places, it can put a significant pressure (underground) on the downstream system in Lough Coy and Ballylee.  It causes swallow holes to become springs. It causes Ballylee swallow hole north (Pollaleen) to  reverse direction and rather than being a swallow hole – it becomes a rise and water flows out of it (this is called an estevelle).  Blackrock overflow and underflows now pouring into Ballylee, through Skehanna and Lough Coy join with the the swelling Ballycahalan river and starts to flood the Ballylee, Deerpark and Rinerush areas.

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Impacts

There were several houses flooded in Roxborough, Castleboy, Grannagh, Blackrock and the Skehanna area in the 2009 and 2015/16 floods.

In Roxborough, 1 house and farmyard was flooded.  In Grannagh 3 homes, were flooded and 4 were badly threathened and 11 were inacessible and many septic tanks were flooded. In Skehana/Blackrock – 2 homes were flooded badly, 2 flooded but were protected (sandbags/pumps) and 3 were badly threathened.

Over 38 farms were affected in Grannagh, Blackrock and Skehanna and over 800 acres of farmland was flooded, many of these farms were flooded for several months. Over 10 farms were in accessible and 8-9 farmyard slurry tanks were washed out into the area.

Access

In Castleboy, acces was limited from Castledaly.  In Skehanna and Blackrock 16 families were isolated and required a pedestrian bridge to get out. The following roads were closed:

  • Labane-Peterswell road closed for 50 days
  • Skehanna-Limepark road closed for 50 days
  • Skehanna-Peterswell road closed for 99 days

Overall, the flooding dealt a very serious blow to the communities of Roxoborough, Grannagh, Castleboy, Blackrock and Skehanna.

What can be done?

This area is one of the high-risk areas as it is so close to the Slieve Aughty Mountains and is very sensitive to changes in land practice.  There are real concerns that mountain land management, farming, forestry and windfarms have increased the mountain run-off over the past few decades. There are several potential mitigation measures including.

  • Slowing the flow
  • Flow Diversion
  • Underground drainage
  • Keep flowing

For slowing the flow, attenuation would attempt to hold water on the mountains.  There may also be methods to ensure mountain land management doesn’t overly accelerate water off the mountain e.g.. land drains, forestry drains, forestry roads, windfarm drains and roads.  There is a potential to use natural flood management techniques to slow the flow – remember a dynamic of blackrock is that normally it can only drain at 2m3/s to anything to slow the peak flows into is are useful.

Diverting the flow

One of the interesting things about the Owenshree river (which can rise 1M in 4 hours),  is that soon after the Seven-Eye Bridge close to Kilchreest where the river swings left (west) it is only a few hundred metres from the source of the Aggard. Here it is in the red circle below:

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This means that there is a potential solution to be able to divert some of the Ownshree into the Aggard. This solution has been details in an OPW report Termon Mannin Kilchreest Final Report 231210.  This solution is feasible, but only on the back of delivering an improved drainage scheme on the Dunkellin river which is currently being developed.  Temporarily alleviating some of the flow from the Owenshree river would lessen the build up of water on Castledaly, Grannagh and Blackrock and be an overall benefit on the whole South Galway flooding.

Protecting from flash flooding

Once the water is travelling unders the 7 Eye bridge – It’s almost at full flow and there is no stopping it on its way to Roxborough toward Blackrock.  An obstruction (Bridge and river narrowing)  holds water back but floods McGlynns as the river is very close his house.  Could the house, farmyard be bunded?  Could the bridge be increased? Will it have an impact downstream?  It will have to be analyzed by our hydrologists but it seems very reasonable to try to protect a house that is threatened by water for a several hours, after which things are back to normal again and that extra water is already in the Blackrock Turlough.

Underground Drainage

Blackrock Turlough is the farthest from the sea and it becomes more challenging to drain off additional water through the current system, particularly where there are 2 other rivers into South Galway system that have flooding dynamics.  From talking to locals in the area, I’ve heard rumors that there were some river diversions on the Owenshree river many years ago, something to do with Limepark house. If you check out the 1836 OS map here and move the OVERLAY Slider and you can see the overlay of then (1936) and now  and you will see a river appear and disappear

diversion

These (and other) swallow holes may be covered but it may be possible to clear some out so they can sink their maximum flow.

 

Another dynamic that could be investigated is the results of keeping water flowing downstream. For instance if Coole Lake has a more streamlined outlet to the sea that stops it reaching 15m (over sea level) then in theory Kiltartan and Ballylee will flow better and this would have an impact on the underground flow from Blackrock. It’s hard to say how much this would be but it would probably not be major.  Hydrology experts are currently studing these effects and will be able to give a scientific answer.

Overall the flooding mitigation of these communities is a high prioritiy for the South Galway- Gort Lowlands floods scheme and the design consultants will be tasked with coming up with solutions designs within the next 18 months.

 

References/Acknowledgements

A huge credit goes to Own Naughten, Lawerence Gill and professor Johnston who have done a lot of studies around the South Galway Area.  The Turlough data and some concept images were taken from the following paper

Also big credit to Sean Brady, from Sean Brady Aerial Photography as his flooding images captured from his drown have really helped us tell the story of South Galway Flooding

Thank to Tommy Fahy for details on Grannagh

Thanks to Pauric Collins and Colm Burke for providing details on Skehanna and Blackrock.
-David Murray

 

Flooding in Ballyboy and Ballyglass

Ballyboy, Ballyglass is an area of South Galway close to Ardrahan and can be reached by taking a right turn at Ardrahan coming from Gort and continuing through the first crossroads. It is not part of the main water route from Slieve Aughty to the sea but there is some probable linkage to Slieve Aughty and because of poor drainage, it ends up flooding and causing crisis for many families in the area.

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Drainage

The Ballyboy drains from an area over 30m above sea level and for the most part the drainage consists of man-made drains that bring water from the Ballyboy, Ballyglass and Monksfield area into the Aggard which connects to the Dunkellin River and flows into Kilcolgan area to the sea.  These drains work their way across farmland and be seen on the map below.

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These drains are not recent and if we go back to 1846 OS map we can see the drains and also the direction of the flow is marked as can be seen from the map below (Check out the OSI Map. )

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There is one peculiar aspect of the drainage is that it flows in 2 directions.   The OS maps of 1846 show that the drains flow from the ruins of Cloghbroak Castle towards Ballyboy.   It also shows water flowing into Cloghbroak Castle from Monksfield but also water flowing in the opposite direction – so that water kind of appears out of nowhere.  Here is a summary of what this map tells us.

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In general, the land is very flat the flows we are talking about are not substantial. These are not rivers but drains and some of the culverts are only 12 inch pipes. There is a very small flow that sinks in a swallow hole close to Ballyboy that can be seen on the diagram below.

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The other drainage aspect is that there are flows beyond the castle that join with the  Monksfield river flow and flow into the Aggard stream.

Severe Winter Flooding

It’s hard to really understand exactly what happens in when we get rainfall like we did in 2009 and 2015 but it has a big impact on Ballyboy and Ballyglass.  The area around Ballyboy becomes badly flooded as can be shown in the photograph below.

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Ballyboy area flooding, showing Forde’s house and the Ballyglass road is under water (Courtesy of Sean Brady Aerial Photography)
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The Ardrahan-Ballyboy road has been raised several times to help keep access for houses, farms and farm buildings. (Courtesy of Sean Brady Aerial Photography)
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The extend of the flood is captured looking westward . (Courtesy of Sean Brady Aerial Photography)

The following diagram shows the flooding on a map. (Compiled from Sean Brady’s photos and flood maps – Copernicus project)

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Cause of the flooding

It’s hard to pinpoint the source of the flooding but the Ballyboy area has many wells and springs.  It may have a similar dynamic to Cockstown where a spring starts to overflow  (from pressure in Grannagh)  and flow into Tulira.   It may be that when Blackrock Turlough rises to 30m above sea level, this starts to put pressure on underground channels from Grannagh and Blackrock towards springs  in Ballyboy. In fact it wouldn’t surprise me if the small swallowhole in Ballyboy changed direction and became a source and started outputting water into Ballyboy. (This is called an ‘estavelle‘ and also happens in Ballylee, and other places) .   The levels seem to build until it reaches Cloghroak Castle which then flows (Slowly) towards the Aggard.

Flooding impacts

The main impacts of the flooding are

  • Flooding of homes
  • Access
  • Farming

As the levels in Ballyboy rise they start impinging on several houses in Lackan and they needed protection.  A bund (dam) was built in the past to protect these houses but in winter 2016 sandbags had to be added to the top of this bund to keep the water away from these houses.  Also in Ballyglass, close to Cloghroak castle a house was threathened and required protection (Sandbags etc.)

A major impact for the area was access.  The road from Ballyboy to Ballyglass was under water and impassable from 11th of December to the 25 of Feb (76 days).  This meant that access to the school of Ballyglass was severely restricted during this time for pupils form the Ardrahan/Labane sid (made worse by flooding of the Cockstown road. The impact of school access cannot be underestimated and could up to several 100s of km a week extra, doing runs and drop-offs.  A repeated occurrence of this type of flooding and horrendous access impacts would have dramatic impacts for the future of Ballyglass school.  No parent wants to add an additional 500km to their school run every week for 7-8 weeks.

Also this had a big impact for farms both in terms of restricted access to farms due to roads flooding or the land being flooded.  A major impact is that the flood water stayed on the land up until May 2016 almost 5 months after the floods came.

Analysis

The flows don’t look substantial and the flood levels are not very deep e.g. an average 2ft-3ft deep compared to 25ft-30ft in a Blackrock/Caherglassaun flood. It wouldn’t take much to flood the area.  A flow of about 1m3/sec would flood this type of area to a 1m level in 5 days.

From an initial look at this the solution to flooding in this area should not be complex.  These are not big flows but they are allowed to rise and stagnate – blocking roads and access and threatening houses.  While the water still sits in Ballyboy in April, the Aggard River is very low and due to poor drainage.

There seems to be several local concerns about the impact of rising of the Ballyboy roads (from Labane to Forde’s house) but this  would appear to have very little impact on the overall flooding. The foundation is essentially porous (made from small rock)  and will not hold water back. As the Ballyboy levels rise and expand, the water simply seeps under the road into the fields on Forde’s /Fahy’s side. The levels will be the same both sides of road. It’s when a road threatens to  block a flow that is usually the cause of main concern.

Also the bund close to Harris’s house will not have a major impact on flooding by holding water back. The bund probably protects less than an acre of ground (with 2 houses and road access) and there is probably over 140 acres flooded in Ballyboy so even if the bund held back an an average of 3ft deep of water displaced by the bund, this would amount to a rise of 6.5mm across the 140 acres.

Considerations

It’s all about the levels and having a good look at these should help shed some light on the flooding dynamics.  However there are some things to consider.

The  man obvious solution is to improve the drainage to the Aggard River.    These drains have been there for 100s of years but need proper maintenance.  Remember we are probably not talking about a major flow here. When the Dunkellin scheme finishes there should be additional capacity in the Aggard and a reasonable solution would seem to be to profile the Ballyboy and Monksfield drainage.

A conservative solution could be to improve the drainage but put a sluice gate in to control the levels.  Local farmers have indicated that in March the Aggard stream was very low but there was still a large body of water in Ballyboy – imagine if you could use that spare capacity over a few days with a result of ensure a fully accessible school.

Without having any detailed data but speculating from the 1846 maps, the area around Cloghroak castle seems to be the critical point.  The maps show water flowing downhill into Ballyboy so this indicates that Ballyboy is in a basin (with it’s own swallow hole) but if that swallow-hole stops working (or, even worse reverses)  then Ballyboy will have to rise  until it finds the outlet on the Monksfield side of Castle.

On the positive front, the Dunkellin Scheme is progressing, the engineers involved will know what type of additional capacity the Aggard can take.  This area has man-made drainage for 100s of years and this drainage needs to be improved to help eliminate the threat of flooding to peoples homes, keep Ballyglass school accessible and reduce the time that land is flooded for. This should be possible without threatening neighbouring communities.

At several of our public meetings our local representatives have stated that once Dunkellin scheme is complete -Ballyboy improvements should be considered in a supplementary works.

David Murray

(If you have any additional information then please let me know)

 

South Galway Flooding Scheme – Engineering Consultant Selection

The next milestone in the South Galway Flood relief scheme is amost complete.  Deputy Sean Canney recently highlighted that ‘The tender for the Engineering Consultants has concluded and a preferred tender has been identified’ and Galway County Council will now issue a  “letter of Intent” to appoint the successful consultant. That means a few more weeks before an official appointment.

Selection process

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The selection process started when the tenders of the project brief were recieved.  One concern that we (South Galway Flood Relief Committee) had was that the consultants would be selected based on a the lowest price, however, Galway County Council,  Project manager for South Galway – Gort Lowlands Flood Relief Scheme, Enda Gallagher highlighted that cost was 30% of the selection process points and quality assessment was 70%. This 70% included

  • Project Appreciation
  • Proposed Methodology
  • Proposed Programme, Project Management Procedures & Quality
  • Management and Personnel

This quality assessment is really asking the question – can you deliver a high quality solution?  A lot of this will boil down to having experience and skills in this area.

The selection criteria has a significant focus on the quality assurance which means that we should be getting the most qualified design consultants and not the just the cheapest ones.  This is essential as if we have to ensure that we finally get good solution to flooding in South Galway

At the end of October a preferred design consultant was selected and all other tenderers were informed of their relative marks and the marks of the winning tenderer. There is a standstill period (Alcatel Period) during which losing tenderers can lodge objections to the process used or the results that they have received during the process to allow losing tenders consider the results and what actions if any they wish to pursue. This period closed on 10th Nov and now we move into a contract phase where the successful tenderer will formally sign a contract. This is usually within four weeks of the expiration of the Alcatel period and this brings us to early December.

Progress

It was a bleak this time last year as there was nobody working on the project. In December last year Galway County Council appointed a dedicated person to oversee this project and most of 2017 was  has been focused on producing the project brief and tendering for design consultants for the first ever solution design for South Galway. 

projectQ4

Yes it does feel slow (as we are now coming into yet another winter … )  and frustrating, but as we can now see the process and the timeline,  we see that the wheels are turning and hopefully we’ll have the design consultants in place by the end of the year and 2018 is where the solution goes through the initial design phase.

We continue to acknowledge all our public represeantatives, our Local Councillors. Galway County Council have put this project to the top of their agenda list in their monthly municipal meetings to keep the priority and momentum up.   Looking forward to meeting with the design consultants in the near future and seeing this project starting the inital design phase.

-David Murray

 

Minister Naughten and the Derrybrien Windfarm

There was recently a meeting between South Galway Flood Relief Committee (SGFRC) and Minister Naughten regarding the Derrybrien Windfarm and its effects on the South Galway flooding impacts. Deputy Sean Canney hosted the meeting and introduced the SGFRC members present (David Murray, Eugene Nolan and Michael Cahill)

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Deputy Canney highlighted that the SGFRC was a progressive and knowledgeable team and had worked across the board to meet with the different stakeholders of South Galway, including OPW, Galway County Council, NPWS, Coillte and Irish Forest Service. He also brought Minister Naughten up to speed as to where we are in the South Galway flood relief scheme – A brief has been produced and is currently going to tender and engineering consultants should be on board by end of November.

Profile of South Galway

David Murray profiled the South Galway Situation and described the Underground river systems of South Galway and flooding risk/sensitivity due to rapid runoff the Slieve Aughty mountains. In the winter of 2015 South Galway suffered over 35 homes flooded with 34 badly threatened. Over 200 farms were flooded and total road closure over this timeframe was 1733 days. This caused severe levels of anxiety and distress for many in the South Galway area. Murray also highlighted environmental concerns including; extreme silting of South Galway river courses that pose a threat to the underground river systems; the destruction within Coole Park nature reserved of protected habitat and the high levels of pollution in several SACs and Galway bay. Murray also highlighted that the flooding had a huge impacts on area of national heritage, including Coole Park and Thoor Ballylee.

Concerns regarding windfarms

Murray highlighted that that the overall South Galway public perception of Derrybrien Windfarm is very poor. The community has seen a big change in river flow dynamics (hydrology changes) in the past 20 years and suspects Windfarm involvement in increasing flooding risk for South Galway. He noted that the Derrybrien landslide did a lot of environmental damage and according to the EU Court ruling had improper planning (environmental impact assessments) consideration of and is now subject of EU Court order. A key point to make was that in order to mitigate the landslide, the Windfarm developers put a ‘Robust Drainage Scheme’ in place, with over 30km of drainage channels created which from a proposal by Michael Rodgers, included ‘drainage for each access road, all turbine bases and each repository site . . . continuously for the life of the windfarm project and thereafter’. This contradicted the original Environmental Impact Assessment which stated that the ‘construction of turbine bases does not result in long-term drainage of the surrounding peat

SGFRC meeting with European Commission Environment (Feb 8th 2017)

Earlier in the year the SGFRC met with the European Commission on the Environment and brought them through the South Galway flooding situation and the sensitivity to the area to hydrology changes.  The EC Environment Enforcement highlighted the EU Court Order against Derrybrien windfarm and their requirements/expectations of retrospective environmental impact assessments and retrospective mitigations to be put in place by the developers in order to avoid penalties.

The EU Commission stated that the next phase of resolving the noncompliance
regarding the Derrybrien Windfarm may lead to financial penalties if in the context of a second court ruling Ireland was judged to be non-compliant.

The EC Environment Enforcement representatives recommended to meet with windfarm stakeholders and to highlight flooding concerns which would ensure they are included in retrospective EIA. The stakeholders (ESB) were informed on April 7th – ‘Windfarm impacts on South Galway Flooding’, and Minister Naughten was subsequently forwarded this report.

Current Engagement with ESB (Windfarm Owners)

Since then the SGFRC has met with ESB and has had positive engagement with the Derrybrien Windfarm operations manager to discuss the situation. The SGFRC highlighted profile of South Galway and flooding concerns and environmental concerns. The asks on behalf of the South Galway community are similar to (but independent of) the EU Court order – Analyse impact of the legacy drainage scheme and propose solution proposal for mitigation. The ESB is due to get back to this the coming weeks.

Key Asks for South Galway Community

The SGFRC highlighted some key asks from Minister Naughten and the ESB

  • Acknowledgement that Windfarms/ESB are a stakeholder on upper catchment
  • Mountain hydrology changes and flooding pressure are incorporated into retrospective. – EIA and mitigation
  • Opportunity for engagement with engineering consultants – Sharing of data, expertise
  • Example Climate change metrics – 1:100 year storms are now 1:5 – how can this gap be narrowed?

Minister Naughten has indicated that since meeting in Gort last year, he has progressed windfarm development guidelines with better flood sensitivity. SGFRC highlighted current best-practice example of Sliabh Bán Wind Farm, Roscommon, Ireland where there was Independent Hydrology Analysis, Flood risk identification and Planned Mitigation. Minister Naughten said there was more work to do here as it did suffer a deluge in the past and there is room for improvement in best-practice.

The SGFRC indicated that while the Robust Drainage scheme happened in the past, it did so without an EIA (It contradicted the original EIA) and that this wasn’t just a once-off impact event as South Galway communities are potentially being impacted every winter.
There was a discussion on the opportunity that is presenting itself as we have at the start of a flood design scheme for South Galway. The engineering consultants will be analysing upper catchment and proposing solutions to mitigate flood risk so this is where ESB as a stakeholder could have some key involvement either as part of the EU retrospective mitigation or independently to this. There is an opportunity to have a positive public/community impact where ESB is showing a proactive interest in the community.

Michael Cahill, a farmer in South Galway highlighted that in previous Cahill generations his farm did not flood but in the past 20 years, his farm has flooded 5 times bringing a huge stress to his livelihood.

Follow-up

Minister Naughten will raise these concerns directly with ESB and SGFRC will await communications from ESB when their situation analysis in complete and the SGFRC will review ESB/Windfarm situation end Nov and decide on course of action.  Overall a progressive meeting and we look forward to the next step.

-David Murray

Chair South Galway Flood Relief Committee

 

PS: An additional topic of Climate change was discussed and SGFRC highlighted that we needed a better estimate of heavy storms. There is a lot of scepticism on the fact that we can have a 1-in-100 year storms every 3-4 years. We need to come up with better metrics immediately or the flood relief solutions that we are designing will not be designed with real future scenarios in mind. Eugene Nolan has shared the ICARUS project (NUI Maynooth – Conor Murphy) in the hope that we can collaborate with these to get a better understanding of Irish Climate change. Both Minister Naughten and Deputy Canney expressed interest in this and will follow up.

Windfarm Impacts on Flooding in South Galway

In April this year,  I sent off a Letter of Complaint to the ESB who own the Derrybrien Windfarm over possible impacts of the windfarm on flooding.

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This document gives the background of the South Galway flooding situation and queries the impact that the windfarm has had on the mountain hydrology.  During construction of this windfarm

  • 200 Hectares of forest was clear-felled
  • Over 17km of roads were contsrtructed
  • 71 turbine bases were constructed

In 2003, the construction of the windfarm during wet weather caused a landslide in Derrybrien and in scrambling for options a plan was put in place to keep water off the mountain  – it was called a Robust Drainage Scheme and as over 30 km of drains were dug

Over 30 km of drains were dug within the Windfarm as part of a robust-drainage scheme to stop the landslide from happening

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One of the drains running from the base of turbine is over 7 feet deep.

EU Court Ruling

In 2010, The European Commission issued a final warning over breaches of environmental law.

“.. the case refers to a Court ruling in July 2008 concerning Ireland’s failure to ensure that
work on projects that might require an environmental impact assessment (EIA) does not start before the necessary checks or studies are carried out. The Court found that

  • … Ireland’s use of a system of retention permission to retrospectively approve such work was contrary to the EIA Directive.
  • …  there had been a failure to undertake a proper prior impact assessment of a wind farm at Derrybrien, County Galway, which caused a major peat slide. No legislation has been adopted to address the issue of retrospective permission identified in the judgment.

In the Derrybrien case, the Irish authorities agreed to undertake an EIA to look in detail at further potential issues, however, to date none has been made due to delays in proposed new legislation.”

When we met with the European Commission Environment in March 2017,  they were aware of the open court ruling and were very concerned about the damage being done to human health and the SACs by the flooding.  They recommended that we write to and meet with the windfarm owners and highlight our concerns.  They EC-Environment – Enforcement officer mentioned that in order to comply with the European Court ruling the EU state will probably have do a retrorespective EIA required with propsed mitigations.  Once we highlight other potential impacts these will have to be taken into account in the retrospective analysis.

Meeting with ESB International

Several weeks after issueing the letter of complaint – The SGFRC met with Mr Tom Gill of ESB International for an informal meeting to discuss the complaint. Mr Gill is the key person responsible for Derrybrien Windfarm.  It was a cordial meeting and we highlighed our concerns and asked what ESB could do here?   Mr Gill stated that if the ESB has caused an impact it would not be found wanting for a solution and that ESB wants to be the ‘good neighbour’.

We highlighted that current best practice includes doing hydrology modelling and attenuation. http://www.coillte.ie/media/2017/03/Doughill_Environmental_Report_2017_to_2021.pdf

While this may not be suitable for Slieve Aughty, the science here tells us there is a clear impact from windfarms and that the commnuities in South Galway are potentially still being affected. We indicated that there is now a plan to develop a flood relief solution in South Galway and that ESB should have a part to play in this.

We asked Mr Gill to go back to the experts with his organiszation and ask one question –

Has the windfram development (turbines, drains, roads, Deforestation)  had an effect on the hyrdology of the mountain?

If the answer is an honest ‘Yes’ then can he check with his management to see what can be done about it.

Windfarms as a ‘pressure’ on our waterways

As many of you may know (and contributed)  there was a public consultation on River basin catchment management and one of my recommendations was that we highlight Windfarms as a pressure our our waterways. This is something that can potentailly change the hydrology of an catchment.   Hopefully, through that public consultation we have made or organizations aware that this a real pressure.  If it is recosnised as such, then our Government need to identfy mitigations (program of measures) that can reduce the impacts so that any windfarm development is required to follow these.

Meeting with Minister Naughten Minister for Communications, Climate Action & Environment

We will be meeting with Minister Naughten within the week and we want to see his position on this matter.

The Minister is in potentially compromising position here. When the EC Environment penalizes the Irish Government for the Derrybrien Windfarm/Landslide fiasco (we suspect in the near/medium term) , it will land into the lap of our environment Minister.   And when our Environment Minister seeks out the offending parties, it will be none other then his own department.

Minister Naughton has already been a positive force in flooding relief for South Galway. He was proactive in his assignment of GSI experts to start an indepth hydrology analysis of South Galway (and other areas). He also attended a public meeting in Gort last year, organised by Deputy Anne Rabbitte.

We look forward to some progressive discussions with Minister Naughten in the coming days.