‘Immediate action required’ to assist farmers along Shannon Callows

Immediate and joined-up action is required to assist farmers along the Shannon Callows due to rising water levels, according to independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice.

Concerns among farmers have been mounting as they can’t get machinery in to cut meadows which are fit due to ground conditions along the callows.

Commenting, Fitzmaurice said: “Over recent weeks, water levels in the river Shannon have been consistently rising – particularly in the Clonown area, with farmers keeping a watchful eye.

“Further difficulty lies on the horizon, given the heavy rainfall experienced today which will surely lead to further rises. Farmers that had that land flooded earlier in the year now face a second bout.

This couldn’t have come at a worse time, with many farmers depending on the fodder that would be harvested from the callows to feed their livestock for the winter ahead – particularly given the lighter crops saved earlier in the year.

The independent TD for Roscommon-Galway noted that, as it stands, up to 6in of water is covering parts of the callows at present.

“I am calling on the likes of the ESB, Waterways Ireland and the OPW [Office of Public Works] to be proactive in ensuring that sufficient water is allowed to flow downstream to reduce flooding along the callows. The same is also important for the Rooskey and Tarmonbarry area,” he said.

“If the levels aren’t managed properly, farmers could be prevented from harvesting the fodder which they had planned for – thus leaving them with a shortage.

Members of the present government, at meetings in Athlone and indeed in other areas, promised the sun, moon and stars in relation to the Shannon – now they have the opportunity to deliver on those same promises.

“They talked about setting up one body to manage the Shannon, even though questions were raised regarding whether or not that was even possible.

“However, it is vital that the farming community along the Shannon Callows are assisted in every way possible to harvest the fodder they require for their animals,” deputy Fitzmaurice concluded.