‘Cost-benefit analysis for Rahara work doesn’t stand up’ – Minister

‘But we will solve the problem’

It would not make financial sense to carry out flood-relief work at Rahara – but the Government are determined to solve the problem, Minister Denis Naughten has said.

  Speaking at Monday’s public meeting, he said that the Office of Public Works’ (OPW) formula would not recommend radical work in the rural area that had been badly flooded over the past six months.

  “The cost-benefit analysis to doing work here in Lough Funshinagh doesn’t stand up at all,” the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment told the crowd in Rahara National School.

  However, he said that the OPW’s formula was normally used on rivers, where flash foods occurred and regularly receded very quickly.

  “What we have seen here is unprecedented in this country,” he said.

  The Minister said that a model needed to be put in place that looked not only at the number of homes flooded, in danger of flooding or farmers and families that were “significantly inconvenienced”.

  “The human and health aspect needs to be taken into account. They aren’t part of any calculation because they have been looking at this from a totally different focus up until now,” Minister Naughten said.

  It has been suggested that the only viable solution was to relocate families from the areas at Rahara that were liable to flooding.

  However, Minister Naughten said that that was not the solution.  “We are talking about whole communities here. Do you close up the whole village and relocate people out? I don’t think you should,” he said.

  He said that experts from varies bodies – such as Roscommon County Council, the Office of Public Works and Geological Survey of Ireland – were working to find a solution to the problem.

  He said that a research team, comprising various researches, had been put in place to analyse the situation, while he said that he had sanctioned money for an immediate aerial survey of all turloughs in the country.

  “That will feed into the work that Roscommon County Council has done up until now, so we can get some of the answer in relation to practical solutions to deal with the challenges that people are facing at the moment,” he said.