Cllr Liam Galvin
URGENT and immediate action is needed to deal with erosion along the Feale river local councillor Liam Galvin has declared.
Without such urgent and immediate action, he warned, the Town Park, a “jewel in the town”, is at grave risk. And he pointed out that one landowner, with land across from the park, and whose plight had been highlighted by the Limerick Leader, had now lost three acres through erosion over the past few years.
However, he argued, there was nobody taking responsibility for this erosion. When there was a real risk that the river would by-pass the town’s water treatment plant, he pointed out, Irish Water had intervened.
But he added: “Significant damage has been done to the Town Park since this work was carried out. Since Irish Water, this erosion has gotten significantly worse.
“It is bad enough to be losing land but we are putting people’s lives at risk. We do need to establish who owns the river. Somebody has to take ownership. We have serious problems and there are more serious problems coming down the track.”
Fellow Abbeyfeale councillor Francis Foley was also perturbed but said the problem of riverbank erosion along the Feale is widespread and is not confined to the stretch of river from the Town Park to the Mart.
“There is massive erosion from Feale’s Bridge down,” he said. “It is inch land that is being eroded,” he continued and landowners, with trees on the riverbank, are concerned. Their concern, he warned, was that large trees would go with the river and hit the Kerry Bridge. “We need a major overall look at the whole thing,” he said.
Cllr Seamus Browne, who is also based in Abbeyfeale, added his voice to the demand for action. The Roche family were the first to be seriously impacted, he said. (The rear terrace of the Roches was taken by the river last November).
“There are other property owners at the back of the Square who have lost pieces of their property over the last ten years,” he added.
“But no state agency is taking responsibility or won’t take responsibility.
“We are standing back and doing nothing about it. Eventually, we are going to have to do something about it,” he said.
The first thing that needs to be done, Cllr Browne argued, is a survey.
“We know for certain protection measures have to be taken at the Town Park, but the voluntary group has no money. We know New Street has a major problem with erosion and we know that section alone is going to cost half a million euro. It is a major issue.”
The government needs to relook at the Home Relocation Scheme devised for people whose homes are at risk of flooding, Cllr John Sheahan argued.
Abbeyfeale doesn’t have a flooding issue, Cllr Browne responded. “It is never going to fit any criteria for flooding.”
But he saw no reason why the government couldn’t come up with a scheme for erosion similar to the scheme for flooding.
Cllr Sheahan then challenged Sinn Fein to “put a proposal and show up the Fine Gael ministers if there is inaction”.
”We have a Minister of State who, in my opinion, has done nothing for the Roches,” Cllr Michael Collins declared.
“We have three TDs in this constituency and I ask: what have they done for them?”
But he asked: “Is something happening at a higher level? And is there somebody in the local authority dealing with it?” He wanted to know if there is a River Feale Basin Project, with money from Europe, in place and was this preventing action nearer home.