News Winter Storms

Saturday 29 April 2017

Farmers forced to relocate animals as flood waters continue to wreak havoc

DISTRESS: Taoiseach Enda Kenny visiting Tom Cleary. Photo: Steve Humphreys
DISTRESS: Taoiseach Enda Kenny visiting Tom Cleary. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Claire McCormack

Farmers are being forced to relocate animals to dry land in other parts of the country as flood waters continue to wreak havoc in the Midlands.

Flood victims from Galway, Roscommon, Limerick, Offaly, Westmeath and Clare are also seeking legal advice on bypassing the Government to bring their flooding concerns straight to the European courts. Meanwhile, a national protest on flooding is planned for February 20 in Athlone.

Over the past nine weeks, Tom Cleary, a horse trainer in Carrickobrien, Co Westmeath, has been travelling from his home to the Curragh, Co Kildare, where he had to move 10 of his horses on December 4.

"The water was in my stables, the yard, the walker and the gallops. A quarter of the gallops are still under water so I can't exercise the horses at home," he said. "The manager of the Curragh Racecourse kindly let me use one of his stables and the facilities, but I have to pay to use the Curragh gallops."

Mr Cleary was denied compensation under the Irish Red Cross scheme as he's not in a "rateable area" and wasn't subject to commercial rates.

Despite last week's announcement that emergency funding is now being extended to people not in rateable areas, flood victims are urging the Government to commit to starting work on the River Shannon as soon as possible.

"The fact that compensation has been extended is a help, but it's not going to solve the problem for families still in distress. The Government must commit to dredging and cleaning the Shannon as soon as the water goes down and they can get machines on the river. We want them in as early as March," Mr Cleary said.

According to the ESB, the flow of water downstream from Parteen Weir had reduced to 195 cubic metres on Friday. "We want them to override the Parks and Wildlife, the fisheries and any other objecting agencies and put people before wildlife."

Mr Cleary said that himself and other farmers have sought legal advice about going to the European court if there is nothing done.

Sunday Independent

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