By Dan Walsh
Regular flooding and local concerns that the Ahare Bridge could be washed away were raised again following last weekend’s heavy flooding which occurred in a Special Area of Conservation between Tara Hill and Castletown.
“A disaster waiting to happen,” Cllr Joe Sullivan, Cathaoirleach Gorey-Kilmuckridge Municipal District Council told WexfordLocal.com after the most recent episode which saw the road closed to traffic for several hours.
Cllr Diarmuid Devereux told WexfordLocal.com that the Ahare river flooding is occurring annually for years and is an ongoing risk to public safety. “The fact that no remedial action has been taken, even on a short-term basis, is very difficult to understand. However it’s rural Wexford thus does anyone really care?,” he pondered.
Cllr Devereux added that the river is also a valuable habitat for sea trout and various nesting birds and deserves better attention from national and local authorities.
Cllr Fionntán Ó Súilleabhain suggests “doing something to the road, such as raising it, and/or works at the river estuary, removing sediment from time to time which can build up,” and he claims that as the estuary is a Special Area of Conservation authorities are obliged to do it in an environmentally sensitive manner, if permitted at all.”
Speaking to WexfordLocal.com, Cllr Ó Súilleabhain added; “Afforestation along the nearby floodplain may also help, as trees soak up large quantities of water and help drain land on a long-term basis. I have requested an update from the coastal engineer. Funding needs to be found as quickly as possible before we have a tragedy on our hands. This has been running on for far too long.”
Former Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran T.D. paid an official visit to the Ahare River site in November 2019 to see for himself the issues that concerned the local community and its public representatives.
Cllr Joe Sullivan was elected as a representative in the formation of a working group who would progress the project. Now he finds himself pessimistic and told WexfordLocal.com “there appears to be no desire to do anything with it.”
The working group engaged with the Office of Public Works and was promised a survey to include a study into the condition of the bridge, the flood plain and environmental impact.
Findings of survey are expected to be made available in March 2021.