Fianna Fáil TD for Laois/Offaly, Barry Cowen, has called on his fellow Oireachtas members in the constituency to put pressure on the Government to enact recommendations on flood prevention in the River Shannon Basin.
This summer the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht put forward a number of recommendations to address the flooding problems in the Shannon Basin and Shannon Callows.
Deputy Cowen commented, “The Joint Oireachtas Committee produced this special report in the summer where they put forward some progressive recommendations. Among these was a call for the Office of Public Works (OPW) to take the lead in managing the Shannon Basin; the introduction of an early flood warning system and utilising bog land as flood plains.
“The next step for this report is to have it debated in the Dáil and I have tried to initiate this through our Whip but with little progress made to date, despite having been assured at last week’s meeting of the Environment Committee that it would be discussed this Thursday. Flooding in the Shannon Callows has been a major problem for the people of Offaly and it needs to be debated in the Dáil with a view to turning the recommendations of the report into legislation.
“This is a matter of vital importance and I am calling on the Government representatives in the constituency to put pressure on their parties to place this high on the agenda and enable debate on how we can take more preventative measures in the future to deal with flooding in the Shannon Callows.
“A lot of farmers have had an awful summer and their farm income has been severely affected with poor crop yields and winter feed been depleted. If there is another bad period of weather, there will no protection for their land. The Joint Committee report needs to be adopted by the Government sooner rather than later.”