Preparation for ‘major risk of flooding’ called for in Galway

Galway County Council has been called on “to implement an emergency response if necessary” following “genuine concerns” of flooding.

Fianna Fáil TD for Galway east, Anne Rabbitte, has said the past week of heavy rainfall has increased water levels in Portumna, the Shannon Callows, around Clonfert and along the lower Shannon.

Deputy Rabbitte explained: “The excess water coming from Lough Allen and Lough Key means the next few days will be critical.

There are numerous high-risk flooding areas along the lower Shannon and we need to be ready to deal with any threat.

“According to the ESB, between 48mm and 64mm of rain is forecast for the Shannon catchment over the next five days and we are only 70mm off 2009 and 2016 levels.

“We cannot have a situation whereby the area is cut off. Galway County Council must watch the gauges closely and be ready to react.

“The ESB needs to ensure they are doing their utmost to prevent family homes and businesses in the Portumna area from flooding,” she stressed.

With land saturated and the River Shannon beyond its normal capacity, the farming community is exceptionally worried.

“I have met with many farmers who, not for the first time, will have to put their land out of use due to flooding.

“The conditions experienced over the past week were extremely severe. Not only is there damage done to land, there is a risk to livestock and farm buildings.

It will take farmers weeks if not months to recover from the losses suffered all on the back of 12 months of poor prices for their produce.

“I again call on Galway County Council, the Office of Public Works (OPW) and the ESB to ensure that all the necessary emergency arrangements are in place and can be deployed without delay if needed.”

Concluding, the Galway TD said: “In this instance, failing to prepare is most certainly preparing to fail.”