ESB ‘has questions to answer’ on River Shannon flooding

It has been outlined that the ESB “has questions to answer” on the rising levels of water in the River Shannon.

TD for Galway East Anne Rabbitte has said: “The levels of the Shannon could be reduced further if the ESB started using common sense instead of decades-old legislation to control the levels associated with Ardnacrusha.

“The impact of the power station – which contributes around 2% to ESB’s supply – cannot be underestimated.

The station is more of a tourist attraction at this point but nobody is addressing that changes to its water flows need to be made for things to improve.

Continuing, the Fianna Fáil TD said: “The mid section of the river needs attention from its siltation over the years from peat production.”

She added that “state agencies have a roll to play in this”.

Rabbitte noted that levels of water along parts of the Shannon are expected to increase by “up to a further 2in”.

Deputy Rabbitte outlined: “This is becoming a near annual event and the Government has seemingly abandoned parts of the country, such as in Galway.

Family homes, businesses and farms are fearful of the flooding that now faces them, a lot of which could be avoided.

“The situation farmers find themselves in is particularly precarious,” she added.

“If their lands are flooded in the coming days, their animals are at risk and their livelihoods are on the line, not to mind the fact the spreading of slurry has commenced and the impact on the environment.”

Wetting bogs

She outlined: “We need to look at wetting some more cutaway bogs and creating public amenity attractions similar to the Mid Shannon Wilderness Park.

“These would create much needed employment for Bord na Móna workers and their families into the future.

“I’ve also long called for an improved Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programmes around areas such as Portumna, Clonfert and Meelick.”

Concluding, deputy Rabbitte said: “We’re failing to tackle such pinch points and the situation is worsening year on year. It’s time someone called a halt.”