Longford-Westmeath Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy has called for a new protocol to be agreed between the agencies responsible for alerting the public to potential flooding along the Shannon.
Deputy Troy said: “Flooding in the Shannon basin has been a regular occurrence over the decades and little is done to prevent damage. There appears to be confusion about acting on early warning systems. Currently the OPW, Waterways Ireland and the ESB are charged with monitoring the Shannon. No single agency is accountable or in charge of taking action when early warning signs are put in place. It’s is time for the Government to put in place a protocol as a matter of urgently to ensure that actions are streamlined and implemented.
“As part of this it is important that water levels are reviewed urgently and a protocol should be put in place for the opening of gates down river when there is heavy rainfall.
“Farmers along the Shannon in Longford and Westmeath maintain that summer flooding is becoming more frequent and severe. We know that this June was been the wettest on record. This is seriously affecting farmers and their ability to manage grazing and access to fodder. Farmers in the region are genuinely concerned about costs and about being able to provide for their families.
“It is essential that one agency is responsible and accountable on this issue. Hundreds of farmers and thousands of acres have been affected by flooding for the last several weeks. The Minister for Agriculture should also be taking a leading role in this matter and engaging with the farming community with a view to providing assistance to affected areas.”