Minister Naughten to Fitzmaurice: ‘We got no flood works application!’

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, has responded to Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice’s claims that halting flood relief works in Ballinaheglish and Brackloon was “a disgrace”.

  In an address to the Dáil yesterday (Wednesday), Minister Naughten said: “Inland Fisheries Ireland are precluded under fisheries legislation from approving in-stream works during certain sensitive periods annually which primarily relate to fish spawning activity. To minimise adverse impacts on the fisheries resource, works in rivers, streams, watercourses, lakes, reservoirs and ponds should – except in exceptional circumstances –  be carried out during the period from July 1st to September 30th.”

  Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice had reacted angrily to the stoppage of flood works in the Brackloon area of Co. Roscommon, stating: “The action of fisheries board personnel in stopping remedial works in the Brackloon area of County Roscommon at the weekend is a disgrace and it is time that some of our public bodies put people and their property first in the struggle against possible flooding.”

  Minister Naughten said on Wednesday that the IFI “acted proactively” in early September “to advise that the window of opportunity to undertake any necessary works in-stream was drawing to a close.”

 Highlighting derogations/exemptions from the closed season provisions, the Minister stated that in situations where “relief from flooding, landslide and subsidence is required out of season”, work by local authorities may “in exceptional emergency circumstances” be sanctioned.

  Referring to the matter raised by Deputy Fitzmaurice, the Minister said: “I am advised that following a verbal request from the county council, IFI acted swiftly and performed a site visit in October and met with the Council Engineer to advise on and reiterate the requirements already circulated to the council.

  “The council were advised at that time to seek derogation from my Department and the elements which needed to accompany such an application were also outlined. As of today’s date, I can confirm that no application has yet been received.

  “I would advise the deputy that my Department has already given a commitment that applications will be processed promptly.”