Farmers want the OPW to manage the water levels on the Shannon by dropping the level from the end of the summer season, while ensuring that it does not cause problems further downstream.
That is according to IFA president, Tim Cullinan, who met Minister Patrick O’Donovan, who has responsibility for the OPW, this week.
Lowering water levels
“We need the new minister to take control of the situation. Farmers are sick of excuses for inaction,” the farm leader said.
“A number of key pinch points identified along the river need to be addressed. Silt has been building up on the bed of the Shannon over the years which has to be removed by dredging.”
“These actions would help alleviate the flooding problem by lowering water levels. It’s affecting farmers, who are suffering major losses, and it also causes disruption for businesses in the flooded areas,” he added.
IFA Connacht regional, chairman Pat Murphy, said in south county Galway, there is a huge flooding problem with water rising in the turloughs. He believes a proper drainage system would alleviate some of the problems.
Relocation support for farmers
“There are a small number of farmers in the area whose farmyards, and wintering facilities get flooded and the proposed drainage will not rectify this.”
“This farmyard flooding causes major problems and stress for farmers. These farmers do not want to move their farmyards but find themselves being forced to do so.”
IFA is calling on the Minister to provide relocation support for these farmers.
IFA also want the OPW to construct overflow channels connecting turloughs to eventually get excess water to the sea in Kinvara.
Establish an agency
Cullinan said Minister O’Donovan should establish an agency which would include local people to manage the overall Shannon project to rectify the problems and maintain it thereafter.
He said that the current minister and indeed previous ministers have accepted that European regulations have stifled the progress of flood defence and drainage work across the country.
“This has to be challenged by the current Minister as the national pattern of flooding, especially along the Shannon. South Galway will only get worse in the future if weather patterns continue to occur,” he said.
The IFA delegation included Clare County chair Tom Lane, Limerick chair Shay Galvin and North Tipperary chair Imelda Walsh. Offaly chair Richard Scally, Westmeath chair Bernie McCarthy and Galway chair Anne Mitchell also attended.