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25/10/2021

Calls in Offaly for urgency on Shannon management legislation

Calls in Offaly for urgency on Shannon management legislation

Calls in Offaly for urgency on Shannon management legislation

Independent TD for Laois-Offaly Carol Nolan has said that the failure of government to bring forward legislation to establish the River Shannon Management Agency Bill must be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Deputy Nolan was speaking after Government Chief Whip Jack Chambers included the Bill in the Autumn List of Priority Legislation. Deputy Nolan went on to point out, however, that the Bill was also included in the Summer List of Priority Legislation published in April.

"At that point commitments were given that the River Shannon Bill would be the subject of priority drafting and publication by Summers’s end," she said.

“Flooding along various parts of the River Shannon has been a constant and disruptive feature of the lives of so many farmers and landowners in Offaly and beyond for many years now," Deputy Nolan added.

"However, it is now abundantly clear that government and agency levels of responsiveness have been entirely disjointed and effectively uncoordinated.

"We know that Ireland’s Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme has been meeting for the better part of a decade to develop strategies for the reduction of risk.

"But we also know that there have been calls for an immediate and critical review on the effectiveness of the strategies adopted by the CFRAM Programme, the Flood Risk Management   Plans (FRMPs) and the Shannon Flood Risk State Agency Co-ordination Working Group for the reduction of flood risk.

"This is something that even government Ministers have accepted. There is simply no joined-up thinking. That is why we urgently need to see the shape of the legislation that proposes to give effect to a new single authority to address issues on the Shannon.

"Currently the OPW and the ESB manages dams and weirs, while the North-South body, Waterways Ireland have responsibility for the rivers. But often it appears as if the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing.

"The current approach to managing flood risk along the Shannon has failed. It needs to be far more responsive to the immediate needs of farmers and landowners who are being adversely affected several times a year at this point,” concluded Deputy Nolan.

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