IFA calls for single waterways agency

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

The demand for a single agency to manage the country's waterways will be pressed by the IFA's Michael Silke tomorrow, when he appears before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Environment.

Mr Silke, who is chairman of the IFA Flood Project Team, said the current situation is "untenable", whereby more than half a dozen agencies have a say in water levels, and some have a veto on whether remedial works go ahead.

He said the overwhelming view of the public forum on flood management, organised by the association in January, was that a single agency with full responsibility and authority for Ireland's waterways should be established immediately.

He said the agency must take into account the views of local people and be given adequate resources to have a real and lasting impact in dealing with flooding.

"This agency must have responsibility for all waterways in the country, with the specific remit of carrying out essential maintenance on our river network, so that the damage caused to farmland and households can be avoided in future," Mr Silke insisted. "The failures of the past must not be allowed to continue in the future and it is up to the Government to address this issue once and for all.

"The persistent failure to maintain our waterways during the past 30 years has created unnecessary hardship for thousands of farm families and rural dwellers.

"Successive Governments have not dealt with this issue and landowners have suffered the consequences of their inertia. It is now time for action."

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