Fianna Fáil TD for Longford – Westmeath Robert Troy has today published a new Bill aimed at creating a co-ordinated management structure for the Shannon river.
The Shannon River Agency Bill 2015 creates a single new agency to bring together the various bodies and authorities involved in managing the Shannon. The legislation will ensure there is a more co-ordinated effort aimed at preventing flooding along the river.
Deputy Troy commented, “People living along the Shannon have been calling for a single agency to manage the river in order to prevent flooding, and help co-ordinate relief efforts should extreme weather threaten homes and businesses. The agency will be based in Athlone and will be empowered to meet regularly on major management decisions to help with issues such as flood preparation and pollution. It will develop the River Shannon Management Plan and be subjected to scrutiny across the local authorities and the Dáil.
“Currently there are numerous bodies and authorities tasked with managing the river Shannon. This makes it difficult to achieve a joined up approach to deal with issues such as flooding. The river Shannon is the longest in the British Isles and stretches across some 360km touching 18 counties. The devastation of the recent floods highlights the need to protect homeowners along its banks, and this can be achieved by having a single agency in place tasked with managing the river.
“The river Shannon is also a major recreational and tourism resource that is vital to the local economy in the region. We need a new approach to managing the river that cuts across the different bureaucracies involved and gets to the very heart of the matter. This Bill sets up a single agency to bring together the different groups involved such as the ESB and councils to ensure they are acting together, and not separately as is often the case.
“The agency will be a statutory body with binding powers over the various bodies involved to ensure that the correct decisions are made in the common interest and not to the advantage of one group over the other”.
Fianna Fáil Environment Spokesperson Barry Cowen welcomed the Bill and said it would help prevent future flooding.
“With storms and weather conditions growing more challenging over the coming decades, we must put in place a new structure to ensure families and communities along the river Shannon are fully protected. This Bill will do just that. Fianna Fáil is also proposing a new UK style Flood Insurance Scheme to ensure all homes are fully covered.
“My colleague Deputy Troy will be bringing the Bill before the Dáil at the earliest opportunity. The Government and its backbench TDs must fully support it. We need a new way to manage the river Shannon, protect homeowners and businesses and ensure the local resources are not put at risk”.