Sunday 23 October 2016

Building a Shannon flood relief canal could avoid future chaos

Published 25/01/2016 | 02:30

Flooding in Athlone in December 2015. Photo: Fergal Phillips
Flooding in Athlone in December 2015. Photo: Fergal Phillips

This disastrous flood season is hopefully now coming to an end, but, regretfully, it leaves in its wake thousands of financially ruined people in all categories of life wondering how to recover from their plight and what their future holds for them.

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This flooding also leaves in its wake thousands of acres of habitat destroyed by the effects of the lingering flood water, both terrestrial and aqueous, which will take many years of slow natural regeneration to rectify.

Every flooded area has its own specific causes for flooding and the remedy is to remove the flood water as quickly as possible. The big question is how to remove this flood water.

In the case of the River Shannon and its catchment area, it is well known that modifying the river basin by dredging or otherwise will not alleviate the problem. Flood defences in all areas are impossible and where erected only serve to exaggerate the flooding problem further downstream.

The only permanent solution to the Shannon flood problem is to construct a properly designed flood water relief canal that takes away all the flood water. This constant water flow canal with the water flow rate controlled by gates and sluices would leave the Shannon north of Athlone in the Bogganfin area. The flood water would be diverted into it, by a gate control system across the Shannon so that no flood water would reach Athlone town.

The canal would run from the east to West crossing the River Suck, north of Ballinasloe in the Ballygill area. Here, the flood water from the River Suck would be diverted into the canal by a gated system whereby no flood water would reach Ballinasloe.

The water relief canal would then take the most suitable surveyed route towards Loughrey and through the Dunkellin River catchment area and out to the sea in the Clarinbridge/Kilcolgan area. Here it would alleviate the flooding in the Dunkellin River catchment area.

This Shannon flood relief canal would guarantee no more flooding of Athlone, Ballinasloe and other flood-prone towns and villages caused by Shannon flooding. It would decrease the flood water pressure on Shannon areas north of Athlone by having a sustainable flood water release exit.

As well as controlling Shannon flooding and preventing the destruction of livelihoods, properties and habitats, such a canal would open up a potentially huge water-based tourist industry, as well as creating its own environmental habitat.

Of course, there would be detractors and objectors to such a Shannon flood relief canal, based on EU habitat directives, habit interference and cost. Any such objections must be weighed against the habitat destruction caused by Shannon flooding and especially against the most important habitat of all - that is the habitat of affected people living in those flooded areas.

To conclude, if such a project could be implemented by the powers that be, it would prevent future Shannon flooding, save on local flood defence schemes, stabilise insurance costs, save the cost of the relocation of affected people and, most of all, give those people peace of mind.

Brendan White


Giving voters the soft soap?

Were Fine Gael canvassers told not to knock on doors during soaps in case people are watching Eastenda?

John Williams

Clonmel, Co Tipperary

Left behind by the 'recovery'

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said the only question voters will be asked on election day is whether they want to risk the economic recovery.

He states that this is something that must be felt by every citizen of our republic, because it's "our recovery."

Mr Kenny also outlined his three steps to heaven, which is two steps short of his last election promise, the five-point plan.

This so-called economic recovery may be felt by the Taoiseach, his Cabinet, banks, bankers, and other elite members of society - but the man is totally deluded if he believes that the normal people of Ireland can feel any kind of a recovery.

Seamus McLoughlin

Keshcarrigan, Co Leitrim

Irish Army's roots in 1916

I am perplexed by the lack of understanding shown by John Bruton regarding the use of members of the Defence Forces in visiting primary schools in relation to the 1916 commemorations (Irish Independent, January 23).

The Irish Defence Forces trace their history back to the foundation of the Irish Volunteers in 1913.

The current uniform of the Irish Army still has the initials 'IV' on the buttons, representing its origins. Of the 2,000 plus people who took an active part in the 1916 Rising, the majority were members of the Irish Volunteers, so it would be most unusual not to include them in as many aspects of the commemorations as possible.

In addition, WT Cosgrave, the founder of Mr Bruton's own political party, was one of the "minority" who took part in the fighting on Easter week.

Like most people of the present day, I abhor violence, just as Mr Bruton does. However, we cannot cast modern-day aspersions on a different era.

Just like Britain, which was willing to send its soldiers to kill or be killed to protect/expand its empire, Ireland's "small minority" were willing to do the same for the freedom of their country.

Judging by Mr Bruton's contribution, I would not like to see politicians "explaining the Proclamation", as he suggested.

Eoin Swithin Walsh

Mooncoin, Co Kilkenny

Use your vote wisely

Ireland is now in the midst of a "phoney election", with the actual election date still to be announced.

It will, potentially, be the second most historically important election in Ireland since the famous 'Treaty election' held on June 16, 1922. Hopefully, there will be a great turnout of voters, who will tick all the boxes on the ballot paper, according to their preference.

May I suggest to voters that there is one method of voting that will send a strong message to the four main political parties that the majority of people are sick and tired of 'gombeen politics'.

For instance, where a household has more than one voter, if one voter per such house would opt to vote the four main parties last, in the order of their choice, what a strong message this would be.

First, it would prove the power the voter has with their vote, and secondly, it would show how the voter can empower themselves for future elections.

Declan Foley

Berwick, Australia

Irish Independent

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