DESPERATELY needed funding for flood defences on the Island Field has been placed in doubt after the OPW indicated this money must come from regeneration funds.
Since the floods which devastated the area in February, residents have demanded flood defences are erected to prevent a repeat.
After the visit of Minister Brian Hayes, the council submitted an application for €9m in funding for flood defences and other works.
But following a query from northside Sinn Fein councillor Maurice Quinlivan, it has now emerged the Office of Public Works (OPW) has said money for the project must come from already-allocated regeneration budgets, meant to be for the rebuilding of homes and the provision of other amenities in city estates.
In an email sent to the councillor, the OPW stated: “Flood defences for Limerick are to be part of the regeneration project. The government decision that allocated funding for flood defence infrastructure around the country that was damaged in the December to January period did not allocate funding for Limerick.”
Cllr Quinlivan has demanded a separate allocation of funds be put in place for the works - and called on Ministers Michael Noonan and Jan O’Sullivan to put in place a comprehensive action plan.
“It is extremely worrisome that the Government seem to believe that this can be provided from an already stretched regeneration budget, which never had provision for this work,” Cllr Quinlivan said.
It comes as more than 1,000 residents in the area lobbied the council to demand permanent flood defences be put in place on the Island Bank.
They fear the weight of the sandbags is causing the land to collapse into the Shannon.
This practice has been compared to placing ‘bags on jelly’.
A council spokesperson said they still await a government decision on its funding application. It is continuing to monitor the embankment.