Fianna Fáil TD for Laois/Offaly, Barry Cowen, has called on his fellow Oireachtas members in the constituency to put pressure on the Government to enact recommendations on flood prevention in the River Shannon Basin.
Last summer the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht put forward a number of recommendations to address the flooding problems in the Shannon Basin and Shannon Callows but no action has been taken since.
Deputy Cowen commented: “The Joint Oireachtas Committee produced this special report last summer amid much fanfare where they put forward some progressive recommendations. Among these was a call for the Office of Public Works (OPW) to take the lead in managing the Shannon Basin; the introduction of an early flood warning system and utilising bog land as flood plains.
“The next step for this report is to have it debated in the Dáil, I have tried to initiate this through our whip but there seems to be no appetite among the Government parties to have the report discussed. I was assured that this would be debated in the Dáil soon after the report was published but, 7 months later, there is still no sign of this. Flooding in the Shannon Callows has been a major problem for the people of Offaly and it needs to be debated in the Dáil with a view to turning the recommendations of the report into legislation.
“This is a matter of vital importance and I am calling on the Government representatives in the constituency to put pressure on their parties to place this high on the agenda and enable debate on how we can take more preventative measures in the future to deal with flooding in the Shannon Callows. The delay in debating this is unacceptable and must be dealt with as a matter or urgency.
“A lot of farmers had an awful summer last year with farm incomes severely affected through poor crop yields and winter feed been depleted. If there is another bad period of weather, there will no protection for their land. The Joint Committee report needs to be adopted by the Government sooner rather than later.”