To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when funding will be available for flood defence measures for north Louth from Omeath to Dundalk and Dundalk to Clogherhead to upgrade coastal flood defence measures; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Declan Breathnach TD

The core strategy for addressing areas at potentially significant risk from flooding is the Office of Public Works (OPW) Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme. The Programme, which is being undertaken by engineering consultants on behalf of the OPW working in partnership with the local authorities, involves the production of predictive flood mapping for each location, the development of preliminary flood risk management options and the production of Flood Risk Management Plans.

Seven Areas for Further Assessment (AFAs) have been identified in County Louth as follows: Baltray, Annagassan, Ardee, Dundalk & Blackrock South, Carlingford & Greenore, Termonfeckin and Drogheda. The feasible measures both structural and non-structural identified for these AFAs are contained in the final plans for the East and North Western – Neagh Bann CFRAM studies.

These Plans are currently undergoing an independent review of the strategic level environmental assessments by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Once this independent review of all Plans is completed and observations addressed, I would hope by the end of this year to seek the approval from the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform for the Flood Risk Management Plans.  Thereafter, I would hope to announce the proposed structural measures contained within the Plans that will, over the coming years, be taken to detailed design to protect those communities at assessed risk.

Outside of the CFRAM study areas, Louth County Council has responsibility for investigating and addressing issues of coastal protection and flooding in their area and can apply for funding to carry out proposed works under the OPW Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme. Any application received will be assessed under the scheme’s eligibility criteria. Application forms and related guidelines are available on the OPW website under Flood Risk Management.