New works on the Shannon a major step forward for farmers - Minister

The OPW will also continue its €15m a year investment in the maintenance of the Arterial Drainage Schemes, providing benefits to 650,000 acres of agricultural land. Photo: PA
The OPW will also continue its €15m a year investment in the maintenance of the Arterial Drainage Schemes, providing benefits to 650,000 acres of agricultural land. Photo: PA
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Waterways Ireland and the OPW are progressing a project for the removal of 18 pinchpoints between Athlone and Meelick on the Shannon to improve conveyance capacity on the river.

The announcement was madeon the Shannon at the Irish National Flood Forum 2nd Annual Conference in Athlone by Kevin “Boxer” Moran Minister for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief.

He said this is a major step forward for farming, for tourism and for habitats, particularly in relation to the nesting birds and the curlew.

“For the first time in many years, targeted maintenance works were undertaken earlier this year at Madden’s Island and, at Portavolla, I recently turned the sod on a minor works scheme costing €120,000 which will be completed early in 2018. 

“Further maintenance works will be carried out on the Shannon pinch points in 2018 when the next environmental window for the works will allow.

“The initial estimate for this targeted maintenance work is some €6m over a five-year period and is subject to approval through the planning process”. 

Homes may have to be abandoned and swathes of agricultural land given over to water storage to help prevent catastrophic flood damage. Photo: PA
Homes may have to be abandoned and swathes of agricultural land given over to water storage to help prevent catastrophic flood damage. Photo: PA

The Minister also provided an update on some of the  work being carried out across the whole Government sector to address flooding problems and, in particular, the progress being made in advancing flood relief works across the country.

The Minister referred to the Cork Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme, welcoming the progress being made on this hugely important €140m Scheme, the largest ever undertaken in Ireland and providing protection to over 2,100 properties. 

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It is expected that the first phase of the Scheme will be submitted for planning by Cork City Council shortly as part of an integrated Public Realm project for the Morrison’s Island area of the City.  This will provide protection for the City against tidal flooding and it is hoped construction works will commence in 2018.

The Minister also indicated that a contract for the Clonakilty Flood Relief Scheme is expected to be placed shortly which will provide protection to some 300 properties.

In relation to projects in Donegal, the Minister welcomed the progress being made in Raphoe where the OPW, working in conjunction with Donegal County Council, is progressing a scheme to provide protection to over 200 properties. In Burnfoot, work is ongoing to review potential flood relief measures, taking into account the August floods.

The Minister welcomed the conclusion of a review of options for a €10m flood defence scheme for Crossmolina, and said that the preferred option will go to public consultation in early 2018 with a view to commencing work in 2019.

Under the OPW’s Minor Works and Coastal Protection Scheme, €4.5 million has been approved for 139 projects from 2016 to October, 2017.  OPW in conjunction with Offaly County Council has provided flood protection works to protect some 35 homes in Portavolla and works are expected to be completed in Spring 2018.  Progress is also being made at Hanly’s Turlough where the OPW and Longford County Council are developing an embankment project under the Minor Works Scheme

The Minister went on to say, “I also recently turned the sod on the first stage of the €6 million Athlone Flood Alleviation Scheme which will bring much needed protection to some 250 homes.  In Limerick, the recently completed €2.8 million Foynes Tidal Flood Relief Scheme is protecting 188 properties, and progress is being made on the 1st phase of the Limerick City Flood Relief Scheme at King’s Island.  Advance works have already been completed at Verdant Place, at a cost of over €2 million and when the overall work at King’s Island is complete, protection will be provided to over 470 properties”.

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