Farm Ireland

Monday 19 March 2018

'Action not surveys needed on flooding' - Fitzmaurice

Michael Fitzmaurice, Independent TD for Roscommon-Galway Photo: Tom Burke
Michael Fitzmaurice, Independent TD for Roscommon-Galway Photo: Tom Burke

A major scientific study of turloughs in the West of Ireland by the Geological Survey (GSI) office is not going to solve the immediate problem of flooding being experienced by rural dwellers and farmers, Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice claimed this week.

The GSI has just announced a three-year survey to gather information about the sub-surface water profile of the turloughs with a view to helping the authorities to anticipate flooding and put in place counter-flooding measures.

But Deputy Fitzmaurice, who represents the Roscommon-Galway constituency where most of the turlough flooding took place during the 10 storms to hit the area last winter, said "action not surveys" were now required.

"You can do survey after survey but the only way you are going to solve the problem is to dig them, put an overflow point in and clear the water. There are machines available that can clear nine million gallons of surface water a day," he told the Farming Independent.

He pointed out that flooding in places like Ardmullin, Lough Funshinagh, Castleplunkett, Bushfield in Roscommon and Kilternan in Galway had yet to be cleared.

"And we are only three months away from the next winter rains. It's time to cut to the chase and clear the water and sort out the Shannon basin," he added.

The GSI will collect flood data from some 20 of the 400 turlough sites in the country and recommend possible solutions to these sub-surface flood risks.

GSI director Koen Verbruggen said the survey will use water level monitoring stations, aerial surveys and imaging and satellite sensing data in what he called a "flood mapping" exercise.

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The Minister for Communications, Climate Change and Natural Resources, Denis Naughten, who also represents many of the communities affected by this flooding, told the launch of the GSI survey that the new initiative was a "cutting-edge project".

An understanding of these complex sub-surface drainage systems is crucial to managing the real life impact of climate change," he said.

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