Minister Mansergh washing his hands of flooding crisis at Ballycar, Newmarket on Fergus – BREEN

June 24th, 2010 - Pat Breen

Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen has accused Dr. Martin Mansergh, Minister of State at the Department of Finance, with special responsibility for the OPW of washing his hands of the flooding crisis at Ballycar, Newmarket on Fergus, which has led to prolonged closures of services on the Ennis to Limerick Railway line in the past two years.

Deputy Breen made his comments following a response which he has received from Dr. Martin Mansergh T.D., which he raised this matter with him by way of parliamentary question recently.

“Iarnrod Eireann is not responsible for the flooding which forced the closure of rail services on this line for the past two years and it is not good enough now that Minister Mansergh is expecting them to shoulder the burden of the cost of resolving this problem. Unlike Iarnrod Eireann, the OPW has responsibilities for flood risk management and it has the powers under various acts such as the Aerterial Drainage Act, 1945 and the amendment to the Act of 1995 to fund or take measures to reduce the risk of flooding. It is typical of this Government to pass the buck and apportion blame to some other Agency rather than accept responsibility themselves.”

“It is welcome news that a tender has been issued to complete this Report and that Iarnrod Eireann expects to award the contract next month, however, my fear is that when this report is completed it will be cast aside and left to gather dust, because quite simply Iarnrod Eireann does not have the money to fund the necessary works.”

“In the first two months since the re-opening of services along the Western Rail Corridor, an average of 500 people per day is using the service and it is proving very popular especially with a new stop in Sixmilebridge and I hope it will be further extended to include a stop at Crusheen as soon as possible.”

“However, all of this could be jeopardised if there are further disruptions to the service this winter. An interagency solution involving all the stakeholders, the Government, Local Authority and Iarnrod Eireann is required to fund this work and Minister Mansergh just cannot wash his hands of his responsibility in this regard.”

ENDS

QUESTION NO: *146

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister of State at the Department of Finance, Dr. Martin Mansergh, TD
by Deputy Pat Breen
for WRITTEN ANSWER on Tuesday, 1st June, 2010.

* To ask the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 235 of 19 January 2010, the position regarding a project (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Flooding at Ballycar, Newmarket on Fergus, Co.Clare (Ennis to Limerick rail line)
– Pat Breen TD

REPLY.
The Office of Public Works has met with Iarnrod Éireann regarding the flooding problem at Ballycar. It was agreed that Iarnrod Éireann, as the body responsible for the maintenance and safety of the railway line network, would manage the procurement of an investigation into the matter and subsequently implement any remedial measures, as appropriate. To this end, my Officials provided technical expertise in seeking a costed proposal for a flood study of the area at Ballycar, which is now with Iarnrod Éireann.