A deputation of Irish politicians and farmers affected by the recent floods, headed up by Independent MEP Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan and Independent Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice, will meet with representatives from the EU Commission’s DG Environment on Wednesday of this week (January 13).

“Our aim is to seek clarification from the Commission regarding the feasibility of dredging the Shannon,” said Fitzmaurice.

“The Commission office in Dublin indicated a few days ago that Brussels is not opposed to the principle of dredging the Shannon, even in designated areas. We will be seeking full clarification of this point on Wednesday.

“We also want to find out if the EU can provide support for the dredging works that will be required to prevent future flooding events along the Shannon.”

Fitzmaurice confirmed that the group visiting Brussels will also include Independent TD, Denis Naughton; Fianna Fail environment spokesperson Barry Cowen and Sinn Fein’s Brian Stanley.

“We are not calling for the entire Shannon catchment area to be dredged.

“But there are a number of road blocks that must be addressed, one of which is the island of silt that has developed at Banagher.”

Fitzmaurice believes that work must be undertaken to improve the drainage of the Shannon, irrespective of the designated status which many parts of the river now hold.

“This comes down to a simple choice: dredging or people drowning,” he said.

“And, as far as I am concerned, the decision is a simple one to make. If Brussels says no to dredging, then I will be leading the charge to have the work undertaken anyway.

“I will not stand by and see havoc wreaked again on so many families, as a result of the Shannon flooding. Dredging the river at key points solves the problem.

“And I am totally committed to ensuring that the required public works are carried out as a matter of priority.”