It's time to find the "political will" to get a flood relief scheme for Enniscorthy underway, a Wexford TD says.
Verona Murphy was speaking after the town was hit with another round of devastating floods over Christmas.
'Extensive' flood damage was caused to the area, including several bridges and roads being destroyed.
Bridge at Kilcarbry, Enniscorthy severely damaged. Road closed and will be for some time. @SouthEastRadio @rtenews @EnniscGuardian @byrne_padraig @GardaTraffic @Slaney_News pic.twitter.com/Q3bSapeuQl
— Wexford County Council (@wexfordcoco) December 26, 2021
Plans for a €50 million flood relief scheme for the town have been developed after several flooding incidents.
However, the Government says the project can't progress until planning is granted - and then it will take 3-4 years to actually build.
Independent TD Verona Murphy told The Hard Shoulder the cost of the scheme has only increased since it was put forward back in 2012.
She said: “The reality is it goes back to 2012… the Office of Public Works told [councillors] what would be required. Enniscorthy had major tidal issues, and climate change would affect any flooding in the town.
“Back in 2012, they estimated the cost to be €66 million if they didn’t do anything, while the scheme itself would cost in the region of €25-40 million… today the estimated cost of damage is in the region of €100 million for not doing anything. We can see that now, as we have several bridges collapsed in the county."
Deputy Murphy says she believes the planning process is being used as "an excuse" for further delays.
She said: "I believe where there is a will, there is a way - we need to find the political will to get this scheme underway.”
She added there’s still no firm timeline for a final decision around planning.
Conor Swaine is owner of BTwenty7, a coffee shop and restaurant along the quays in Enniscorthy.
He said businesses in the area prepare themselves for flooding - meaning many avoided flood damage this time around, despite "18 inches of water outside".
In terms of the flood relief plans, he said: “It would be great to see the flood walls done. However… what would be the plan for people to stay in business while that construction is going on?
"That’s something I’d be very interested in seeing - how the town would cope with being turned into a building site for three years."
He said businesses are in the "firing line" every year with flooding, but it's homeowners he feels sorry for - saying flood damage is particularly devastating for them.