Delays in government bringing forward the River Shannon Management Agency Bill “must be addressed as a matter of urgency”, a TD has argued.
Independent TD Carol Nolan noted that the bill is on the autumn list of legislation set to come before the Dáil – under “priority legislation” – but that it was also on the summer list of priority legislation published in April.
“At that point, commitments were given that the River Shannon bill would be subject of priority drafting and publication by summer’s end,” according to Nolan.
“Flooding along the various parts of the River Shannon has been a constant and disruptive feature of the lives of so many farmers and landowners in Offaly and beyond for many years now.
“However, it is now abundantly clear that government and agency levels of responsiveness have been entirely disjointed and effectively uncoordinated,” the Laois-Offaly TD claimed.
“We know that Ireland’s Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme has been meeting for the better part of a decade to develop strategies for the reduction of risk. But we also know that there have been calls for an immediate review on the effectiveness of the strategies adopted by the CFRAM Programme,” Nolan pointed out.
She continued: “This is something that even government ministers have accepted. There is simply no joined-up thinking.
“That is why we urgently need to see the shape of the legislation that proposes to give effect to a new single authority to address issues on the Shannon.”
Noting that responsibility for rivers, dams and weirs is shared between Waterways Ireland and the ESB, Nolan claimed: “Often it appears as if the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing”.
“The current approach to managing flood risk along the Shannon has failed. It needs to be far more responsive to the immediate needs of farmers and landowners who are being adversely affected several times a year at this point,” the deputy concluded.