There was good news for 18 families who have had to battle ongoing flooding at Lough Reane near Fenagh with confirmation that €10,000 has been approved for part funding a feasibility study to investigate a solution to the problem.
Last month Leitrim County Council staff spent three days carrying out emergency works to raise the level of a flooded road along the banks of Lough Reane after water levels continued to rise, cutting off access for several families.
A number of residents had to resort to using boats to get through the floods for work, school and animal maintenance. A further 20 families, who had agricultural land in the area have also been impacted by the flooding.
Last November the Minister of Sate at the Department of Finance with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW), Brian Hayes TD, visited Lough Reane. He met with local residents and also spoke with Council engineers and local representatives about the issue.
At the time Minister Hayes encouraged the Council to make a submission for funding for a feasibility study on the flooding, promising that there would be a ‘quick turnaround’ on any application submitted by Leitrim County Council.
Yesterday (Tuesday, February 19), the Leitrim Observer received confirmation that funding had been secured for the study.
In a statement Fine Gael Deputy for Sligo/North Leitrim, Tony McLoughlin TD said that he had received confirmation that the OPW had approved funding in the amount of €10,000 to Leitrim County Council under the Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme.
The funding will be used to investigate a possible solution to the flooding and this will form the basis of an application for a further funding to carry out works on this site.
Deputy McLoughlin said he had raised this matter with the Minister on a number of occasions and he also paid tribute to Cllr Gordon Hughes for his work to highlight this ongoing problem over the last number of years.
The Fine Gael Deputy said that Minister Hayes had stressed the need for a clear plan to be formulated to allow the OPW and Leitrim County Council to solve this flooding issue “in the long term”.
“I wish to welcome this news which I hope will allow Leitrim County Council to prepare a detailed study that well then propose certain measures that hopefully will alleviate this problem long term.
“I expect that, following the completion of the study, a substantial application from Leitrim County Council will then be made to the Office of Public Works,” he added stating that both he and Cllr Gordon Hughes would continue to campaign for works to be completed as a matter of priority.
“We will also campaign to ensure that further and substantial funding will be allocated by the OPW to Lough Reane to alleviate this really difficult flooding issue.”
Cllr Caillian Ellis has also welcomed the news saying that he hoped that work on the study as soon as possible as the residents and landowners were under “severe pressure” because of the current situation.
“This is going on a long time,” he said. “We need a solution”.
Members of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), including Chairperson of the IFA Flood and Water Management Team, Michael Silke, will be visiting Lough Reane to view the flooding situation this afternoon (Wednesday, February 20).
They will be joined by local IFA representatives and staff from Leitrim County Council for the visit.