The feasibility of a “once-off” targeted scheme for “voluntary farm building relocation” is being considered by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, it has emerged.

The scheme – aimed at supporting holdings that are prone to flooding – is one of a series of flood protection measures that the department is evaluating.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, confirmed the move to independent TD for Galway-Roscommon Denis Naughten.

“This scheme is something I had been working on when in Government. It builds on the relocation scheme announced in 2017 for homeowners that were forced to leave their homes following two unprecedented 100 year floods in a six-year period – in 2009/2010 and 2015/2016,” said Naughten.

“There is no doubt that local communities, and the farming community in particular, have been hit by our changing climate.

Farmyards that are vulnerable to flooding need to be either protected or relocated.

Responding in the Dáil to a question from Naughten – the former minister for communications, climate action and environment – Minister Creed said that a “study to determine the feasibility of any future once-off targeted scheme for voluntary farm building relocation is being undertaken”.

‘At risk farmyards’

He went on to say that the department is currently evaluating a range of “at risk farmyards” impacted by flooding to examine whether “any alternative remedial works” can be undertaken to protect vulnerable farm buildings.

“While this is only one small solution to the overall climate challenge locally, this work – in conjunction with the work taking place on the River Shannon itself and its tributaries to clean the channels of the rivers – will have a direct impact on reducing the risk of flooding in the future,” Naughten concluded.