ICMSA President John Comer is calling for one organisation to be appointed as Ireland’s over-arching body in charge of future flood defence and control policy.  

“It is now perfectly clear that the current ad-hoc system where multiple and overlapping agencies attempt to deal with these increasingly frequent floods is just wholly inadequate,” he said.

“It was all very well to hear Minister Kelly maintain that the Office of Public Works will remain the lead agency in responding to these disasters.

“But we are still left with the nub of the problem, which is that we demonstrably have too many cooks in this particular kitchen.

“Though I don’t doubt that all the agencies pull together when the floods occur my suspicion is that the real damage is done when there isn’t an emergency and these agencies resume their normal business-as-usual attitude.

“This has them guarding their own patches and working to a much more narrow agenda – that’s the problem and that’s what we need address by setting up a single authority specifically to deal with and prevent flooding.”

Comer also believes that the Paris Agreement on Climate Change is going to pose serious questions around Irish agriculture.

“I note the statement contained in the text of the agreement that the process will go forward in a manner that does not threaten food production.

“However, the devil here is very definitely going to be in the detail with undoubted ramifications for Irish agriculture

We’re a country that produces food very efficiently from a carbon emissions’ perspective.

“So it would be a little illogical and counter-productive to impose restrictions on our food production if that production then simply moves elsewhere, possibly to a location with higher carbon emissions and a more stressful  impact on the environment.

“I firmly believe that, with future advancements in technology, Irish agriculture will become more even efficient and our farmers will continue to adopt best-practice in relation to climate change.

“The Paris agreement has now been concluded and it is now supremely important that Ireland negotiates an agreement at EU level that is based on science and that does not impose severe and unfair restrictions on Irish farmers based on some across-the-board cut that does not factor-in suitability and measurable environmental impact.”