Councillors hit out at flood relief plans for Kilkenny which are affecting 'sacred land' of GAA clubs

Darren Hassett

Reporter:

Darren Hassett

Email:

darren.hassett@kilkennypeople.ie

Kilkenny Kilkenny Kilkenny

The diversion of flow will go right by the Ballyhale Shamrocks dressing rooms

Councillors have hit out at the flood relief works for Kilkenny and said "the Office of Public Works need to go back to the people".

Flood relief proposals for Kilkenny - affecting six towns across the county - have been passed by Kilkenny County Council with an amendment.

A full meeting of the local authority on Monday saw a heated debate on the proposals.

Fine Gael Cllr Michael Doyle said the relief works in Insitioge would see a 1.7m wall going through a section of the hurling field and the park in the town.

“The OPW need to go back to the people,” he added. Labour Cllr Maurice Shortall asked if the plans were “fait accompli” or a done deal.

Director of Services at the Council, Tim Butler, said they are a “fait accompli in that all require flood relief works” .

“They are all subject to detailed design, planning and tender,” he said. Mr Butler reiterated that the plans are subject to public consultations.

Towns listed in the OPW plans and the number of properties to be protected are: Ballyhale (25), Freshford (93), Graignamanagh (64), Inistioge (34), Piltown (14), Thomastown (135).

Shouts of “scaremongering” from Fianna Fáil’s Peter ‘Chap’ Cleere and calls from Cllr Matt Doran (FF) to “not get parochial” were directed towards Sinn Fein’s David Kennedy.

The row erupted over the wording of an amendment to the Office of Public Works’ Flood Risk Management Plans with the outline designs proposed for Ballyhale and Inistioge getting particular mention.

The works as proposed will affect the “sacred land” of the GAA clubs as Cllr Doran called them.

On behalf of the Fianna Fáil group, he tabled an amendment that recommended the adoption of the plans “but only with full consultation and agreement with affected communities, public and all groups and organisations”.

Cllr Kennedy’s amendment expressly mentioned the works do “not go through Ballyhale hurling field”. He hit back at the councillors’ remarks and said “all politics is local” and that he would represent his parish.

Cllr Kennedy and others expressed concern around the legality of passing the plans on Monday, whether or not they would then be open to change, and if the Council would be “locked into” the proposals.

His motion for an amendment expressly prohibiting the works going through Ballyhale Shamrocks was defeated. Cllr Doran’s amendment was passed by a majority vote.