In an effort to seek answers on flood prevention works in the Ballybay area Semator Robbie Gallagher sought a written answer on behalf of Councillor Seamus Coyle in the Seanad last week. Senator Gallagher asked Deputy Kevin Moran T.D. the Minsister for State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform "If flood alleviation funding will be made available for flood prevention works in Ballybay, County Monaghan; when work will commence; if planning has been commenced, completed or approved for the works; when the works will be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter".

Minister Moran in a written reply said, "The core strategy for addressing areas at potentially significant risk from flooding is the Office of Public Works (OPW) Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme. The Programme, undertaken by engineering consultants on behalf of the OPW working in partnership with the local authorities, has involved the production of predictive flood mapping for each location, the development of preliminary flood risk management options and the production of Flood Risk Management Plans.

The CFRAM Programme focussed on 300 Areas for Further Assessment (AFAs) including 90 coastal areas, mainly in urban locations nationwide, designated in 2012 as being at potentially significant risk of flooding. The flood risk for each of these areas has been assessed, through detailed engineering techniques to assess their risk and impact from flooding. This risk and the proposed feasible measures, both structural and non-structural, identified to manage that risk are outlined in the Flood Risk Management Plans.

Ballybay was studied as part of the North Western – Neagh Bann CFRAM Programme. The proposed measure for Ballybay consists of a series of flood embankments and walls. These hard defences will extend for a total length of 2.5km with an average height of 1.6m.

In summer 2017, the OPW finalised all Plans and each Plan was submitted to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for an independent review of the environmental assessments and in last month, the Commissioners of Public Works have submitted the Flood Risk Management Plans to the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform for approval.

The National Development Plan 2018-2027 commits to almost €1 billion in funding for flood relief schemes, with annual Capital funding for the OPW doubling to €100m by 2021. This funding will support continued investment in schemes at construction and design. Once the Plans are approved, I intend to announce a prioritised initial tranche of schemes proposed by the Plans to progress to detailed project level assessment and that provide greatest return for Government investment".

Senator Gallagher and Councillor Coyle have vowed to keep the pressure on the Department to ensure that the work promised will be completed as soon as possible.