Cllr Martin Harley at the old Castlefin bridge, one of the areas constantly suffering from flooding particularly during the winter months.
A Ballybofey councillor has slammed what he described as excessive "red tape" and "bureaucracy" which he claims are causing a six and a half year delay in preventing the implementation of solutions to tackle the increasing threat of flooding in the Finn Valley.
It comes as communities across the county remain on alert against further flooding as water levels can quickly become perilously high during bad weather.
Fine Gael's Cllr Martin Harley yesterday, (Monday), called for flood management measures to be fast tracked and urged all the agencies involved in river management to cut through the regulations and find a solution quickly.
Cllr Harley said back in 2018 the Minister of State for the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Flood Relief, Kevin Boxer Moran, announced flood relief money for Castlefin, Lifford and the Twin Towns to deal with flooding issues from 2016 but progress was slow.
He revealed two engineers had been appointed to oversee what work was needed in Castlefin and the OPW was going to deal with Lifford.
"Unfortunately we're now at the end of October, a year and a half later and we were told just days ago that the timeframe for the works involved looked like it could be at least six and a half years before the projects are completed.
"I feel this is unacceptable and people of the Twin Towns, Castlefin and Lifford deserve better.
“Currently they cannot get insurance for their houses, not to mention the fact they are worried every night it rains in case they are flooded again.”
Cllr Halrey said even a short-term solution such as a pumping system could be installed and activated in the event of a flood it might help in Castlefin but that wasn't going to be sufficient for Lifford where there were two rivers meeting and the high tides issues to contend with.
He added with so many different bodies such as the Loughs Agency, the OPW, the council and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment that had responsibilities and regulations red tape and bureaucracy was tying up progress in the lower Finn Valley area.
Cllr Harley is calling for the fast tracking of work and a meeting with the minister to find a solution to the annual flooding problem
Cllr Harley suggest the authorities should be looking to a European model of dealing with flooding crisis where by farmers were paid a version of the Single Farm Payment to open up sections of their river embankments to allow flooding during peak times and then be compensated for it.
“This is an option we have to explore, especially in the Castlefin-Lifford areas and one I will be raising at council and municipal district meetings. I was also disappointed no progress had been made in tackling the flooding issues in the Twin Towns either.
“I will definitely be looking for another meeting with the minister to speed up the work because at the moment a six and a half year delay for a solution is just not on. The people of the Finn Valley deserve better,” he said.
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