The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has called on the Office of Public Works (OPW) to manage water levels on the River Shannon in order to save crops in the Shannon Callows.

IFA Connacht chairman, Pat Murphy said farmers want the OPW to drop the water levels, while ensuring that it does not cause problems further downstream.

“There’s a large amount of hay and silage either being harvested or yet to be harvested,” Murphy stated.

“The crops on the Shannon Callows make up a substantial portion of winter fodder and are extremely important for farmers.

“July is a key month for farmers in the Callows to harvest crops which helps ensure winter fodder is secured,” he added.

The IFA chair noted that there have been significant levels of rainfall within the upper Shannon catchment recently.

“To avoid substantial crop losses over the coming days, farmers need the minister to take immediate control of the situation and ensure the water levels are managed appropriately to reduce the risk of flooding,” Murphy continued.

“This will allow farmers to save their extremely valuable crops,” he said.

In the longer term, the IFA said that an agency must be established which would include local farmers to manage the overall Shannon project to rectify the problems and maintain it into the future.

“This must be established without delay and cannot be put on the long finger,” Murphy concluded.