A resident living in what has been branded “the most dangerous development in Donegal” has called for “clarity” around the Buncrana and Ludden Flood Relief Scheme.

A clearly exasperated, Paul Dunlop, who lives in Elm Park in Buncrana, made the call in advance of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s much-publicised visit to Inishowen next week.

As well as officially opening the new Cockhill Bridge and visiting E and I Engineering Limited in Burnfoot, An Taoiseach will be in the peninsula to see the Government’s post-flood €20 investment in the area.

Speaking to Donegal Now, Mr Dunlop said: “I live in Elm Park in Buncrana and during the August 2017 floods, our estate effectively ended up in the middle of the River Crana. People living in Riverside Park, Straboe and along the Mill River were also affected.

“Since then, not one single resident here has been able to get flood insurance for their homes, which will be catastrophic when the next flood happens, as it surely will.

“In May past, the Office of Public Works (OPW) included the Buncrana and Ludden Flood Relief Scheme, which would include the Cockhill area, in its national list of 118 proposed Flood Risk Management Measures.

‘Unfortunately there is no clarity around the flood defence process. People living in houses, which were effectively given planning permission on a floodplain, need to know how the Buncrana and Ludden Flood Relief Scheme is going to to be funded. When is it going to be funded? And, crucially, who in Donegal County Council is going to liaise with the OPW on the project?” said Mr Dunlop.

The university lecturer said that Donegal County Council had created the problem by giving planning permission for homes to be built on a floodplain.

He added: “Now we need to know whois going to fix the problem? We need to know who within Donegal County Council is going to drive the Buncrana and Ludden Flood Relief Scheme and see it through to completion. Who is going to act to protect the residents of Elm Park and other vulnerable areas?

“The OPW does not deal with private citizens, so we really need calrity around the flood defence process from our local authority, Donegal County Council.

“Who’s job is it to ensure that the Buncrana and Ludden Flood Relief Scheme is completed in a timely fashion, within the coming year? How do we get the Inishowen scheme prioritised over any of the other 117 proposed schemes?

“I am pretty confident that Elm Park is the most dangerous housing development in County Donegal, because when it floods here the velocity of the water is so dangerous. Planning for Elm Park should never have been granted.  We need a flood scheme, we need it soon,” said Mr Dunlop.

Commenting on the uncertainty regarding the Buncrana and Ludden Flood Relief Scheme, Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn (Sinn Féin) said there was all-party support within Inishowen on the need to expedite the Buncrana and Ludden Flood Relief Scheme.

Senator Mac Lochlainn said: “I have contacted Councillor Martin Farren, in his capacity as Cathaoirleach, and asked him to convene a meeting of all of the Inishowen Councillors, Oireachtas members and John McLaughlin (Director of Roads, Donegal County Council) to discuss the way forward on the issue, as a matter of urgency.”

At the time of going to press, the Inish Times had not received the requested update from Donegal County Council on the Buncrana and Ludden Flood Relief Scheme.

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