Tuesday 28 January 2020

Tonnes of rock ordered for Shannon defences - despite lack of new plan

Flooding at the Cathedral in Ballinasloe last December Photo: Steve Humphreys
Flooding at the Cathedral in Ballinasloe last December Photo: Steve Humphreys
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

Thousands of tonnes of materials have been ordered by the Government to address flood issues in the Shannon region - despite there being no new plan to handle the problem.

Locals on the banks of the country's largest river have been calling for urgent works to be carried out to prevent a recurrence of last winter's devastating floods.

Now, the OPW has ordered more than 1,000 tonnes of rock and stone to maintain embankments along the Shannon.

The materials will be used to restore and repair numerous drainage schemes in the south west and Shannon estuary.

However, families who saw their homes and businesses destroyed by floods in recent months want to see dredging carried out on the river as part of a more serious effort by the Government to address the issue.

Much of the flooding last winter was exacerbated by the fact the Shannon is a slow-moving river.

The river is so shallow in parts that it is possible to walk across it.

Locals believe dredging and removing sediment deposits from the river bed would be more beneficial.

Farmer Paídí Ryan, from Springfield, Co Clare, was one of those worst hit by the floods.

Yesterday, he told the Irish Independent that his cattle were still in sheds because his land was still destroyed, three months after the floods.

"We are in a bad state. The land is still in an awful way and the continued bad weather has not helped it either.

"My farmyard is back together again, but all of the land across the road from it is gone. That will be out of action for at least another month and there is a huge cost to that too.

"We can't get cattle out, so we have to feed them and there is a massive cost with doing it.

"It is very late in the year for that and they will be in for at least another three weeks."

The OPW aims to use a supply of rock variations at a number of locations along the river and its tributaries.

However, a spokesperson said that the materials were not being ordered in relation to a specific flood-defence scheme.

He added: "A total of 66 locations of potentially significant flood risk along the Shannon have been identified for further assessment.

"Following the finalisation of the flood mapping and the assessment of appropriate flood-risk management options, the final output from this important project will be integrated plans containing specific and prioritised measures to address, in a comprehensive and sustainable way, the significant flood-risk factors along the River Shannon."

Irish Independent

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