Shannon maintenance start-off welcomed by farmers’ group

The commencement of maintenance work on the River Shannon has been welcomed by the IFA’s (Irish Farmers’ Association’s) Flood Project Chairman, Padraic Joyce.

Joyce also called for a continuous programme that will help to address the ongoing problems of summer flooding and to mitigate flooding in winter.

At a meeting with the Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran yesterday (Monday, September 25), Joyce acknowledged that – after many years of campaigning for such maintenance works – this is the first time that significant work can be done.

The IFA received assurances from the minister that the programme would be ongoing and supported by sufficient resources.

At the meeting, which was attended by representatives from the River Shannon area, Minister Moran said that local authorities have a role to play in developing projects under the Minor Works Scheme.

Some councils are not applying for funds for necessary works – which is something that must be addressed, Joyce said. The river maintenance programme should apply to all rivers throughout the country, he added.

In relation to turloughs, the IFA stressed to the minister the need for urgent work to be completed. Some turloughs that were flooded in 2015 have not sufficiently reduced, which has impacted severely on farming.

The IFA also called for a reassessment of projects under the new Cost Benefit Analysis terms, introduced by the previous Minister for the Office of Public Works, Sean Canney.

Flooding support measures

The government was also recently called upon to learn lessons from its belated response to flooding in Co. Donegal and to address broader concerns around the impact of flooding nationally by Fianna Fail’s Agriculture Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue.

He called for the parameters of the support measures currently in place for farmers who suffered losses as a result of the floods to be widened.

“The government needs to get to grips with the situation and start implementing relief schemes, as well as broadening out supports to include farmers who have lost grain crops, potato crops, unharvested silage and damage to agricultural roads.

“The Rural Development Programme should also be amended to allow for supports to farmers affected by adverse weather conditions,” the Fianna Fail TD said.