Since the flooding on the 24th of October I have been following up with Dublin City Council regarding specific flooding events in our area. At the DCC Engineering Strategic Policy Meeting held on December 15th I addressed the issue and the RTE 1 news covered some of my comments. You can watch the full meeting by clicking HERE. It was a long meeting but you can skip to my comments by using the index (1:47) or read my initial contribution below.
Areas in Dublin Central have been repeatedly flooded over the past decade dating from the Tolka flooding in 2002, 2005 and more recently 2008, 2009 and now again in 2011.
Accepting that the Manager says that no location in the city is free from flood risk and that the report identifies a minimum of 142 locations that were flooded on the 24th of October I find the report to be too high level, too strategic and all to vague. It is significantly lacking in detail, solutions and timelines for action.
I have specific questions about East Wall, Glendhu park, Ashington, Cabra west, Cabra East, Phibsborough, Drumcondra, Glasnevin, East Wall, Ballybough, North Strand. I have put those questions directly on email, I have raised those issues as questions to the City Manager, I have put questions to area committee and city council meetings for written reply.
The reports I have received are high-level and strategic in nature. I have received replies that don't convey to me or residents that any real progress is being made. At its worse I would consider the replies to have been a waste of what we are told are limited resources.
This forum of the SPC is not suitable for addressing local issues.
The city council is refining its message on what it cannot do. It cannot meet with residents. It cannot provide sandbags. It cannot solve the problem. The network is inadequate,insufficient resources are available, it is the OPW, the DoE or some other bodies responsiblity etc. More than anything, no pun intended, the overall effect of this approach is leaving me with a sinking feeling.
Over €120million has been spent over the last decade, the Tolka. Another €100million will be made over the next decade. While this is less it is still very welcome and every effort must be made to ensure that Dublin City gets its fair share of those funds.
From a homeowners perspective in Dublin City today they do not feel that DCC is being responsive. Clearly our approach is not working and we need to recognise this and address it. Clearly there is a plethora of organisations dedicated to protect funding streams and hopefully the Government that has promised much change and greater efficiencies and economies will maybe take this issue of flooding and streamline the various organisations and channel all flooding and drainage activities in one body.
Dublin City Council has significant resources when it comes to long term strategic flooding and drainage expertise however we need to bridge the gap between that strategic long-term approach and the real life events of ordinary homeowners and business owners in the city.
We have to do something to move DCC from appearing like it is hiding behind big words, dense reports , legislation and convoluted procedures and instead move to establish a clear channel of communications between the city council and residents and business owners.
Dublin City Council is the planning authority. Dublin City Council is the drainage provider. Dublin City Council must take the lead on this issue. Dublin City Council needs to take action to establish a Dublin City Flood Forum now.
Finally, I wish to propose to this SPC that dealing with these matters at the SPC is wholly inappropriate and we should call on DCC to establish without any further delay Dublin City Flooding Forum. DCC should make an application for funding for a Dublin City flooding fund immediately.
Fully accepting that mother nature will always have the power to overwhelm our efforts we need to be more proactive and the City Council needs to take a partnership approach with home and business owners in the city to protect their properties.
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