Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on OPW and Flood Relief Eugene Murphy TD has launched a Bill to help address flooding issues along the River Shannon. Deputy Murphy, along with his colleagues Deputies Barry Cowen, Robert Troy and Anne Rabbitte have set out new legislation to remove outdated water level restrictions on ESB regulated lakes along the Shannon.

Deputy Murphy stated, “The River Shannon is an immense natural resource for our country. But as the frequency and intensity of flooding has risen over the past number of years, it’s clear that we need new measures to help protect vulnerable communities living along its banks.

“This Bill addresses the concerns raised by various community groups and aims to update old legislation in order to ensure the ESB has full flexibility in setting water levels on Lough Allen, Lough Derg and Lough Ree.  This will lead to a more co-ordinated decision making process, free from legal constraints, and will help maintain an adequate, safe water level.   Essentially the Bill removes specific water levels from legislation and allows the ESB to continue to use its own expertise to set these levels in conjunction with other relevant bodies such as Waterways Ireland, Inland Fisheries and the local authorities.

“This Bill is not a silver bullet. There is no single solution to ease flooding along the Shannon, but our Bill can form part of an overall package of measures designed to address the difficulties communities on the Shannon are facing”.

Over the coming months Fianna Fáil will bring forward a suite of proposals to address the flooding issue, including:

– A single River Shannon Agency Bill
This will cut through the bureaucratic problems experienced over the years in tackling problems on the Shannon.

– Legislation on introducing a UK style flood insurance fund
Many homes are struggling to get insurance after experiencing flooding. We are working to develop a new insurance model based on the UK example to provide a fund that will cover these homes.

– Additional funding for flood defences
The Fianna Fáil manifesto committed an extra €50m to flood defence capital investment. This will be vital in addressing structural problems in flood defences.  This funding will also be used to target investment in areas identified by the CFRAMS project on the Shannon River Basin area.

“Communities along the Shannon need real action to help deal with escalating flood problems. This suite of measures will help limit the impact of increasing flood waters,” Deputy Murphy concluded.