Government co-ordination group will lack sufficient power to deal with flooding - Troy

Fianna Fáil TD for Longford-Westmeath, Robert Troy, has criticised the Government for its failure to implement a statutory agency with responsibility for co-ordinating the management of the Shannon River.

Deputy Troy has expressed the opinion that the new co-ordination group designed by the Government “simply copies the 1989 River Shannon forum which Fine Gael/Labour scrapped in 1994”. Deputy Troy made the comments after Minister of State with Special Responsibility for the OPW Simon Harris, indicated that the preferred option for Government is to implement a co-ordination group for the management of the Shannon river.

“It’s deeply disappointing to see the Government ignore the local community in the Shannon region,” Deputy Troy said. “They have made it clear that a single statutory agency is needed to manage the Shannon river and prevent future flooding. The Government wants to set up a new Shannon co-ordination group to help deal with the flooding.

“However this is grossly inadequate as the group will lack sufficient power to direct and manage the multiple agencies currently overseeing the management of the Shannon river. It’s back to the future from the Government as the new group is simply a poor replica of the 1989 River Shannon Forum which the last Fine Gael/Labour government actually scrapped.

“In reality, the only way to overcome this problem is to put in place a single agency which has statutory power to make the decisions that are needed to safeguard homes from flooding. It’s ridiculous to see Government ministers claim that it would take too long to pass the legislation necessary to make this happen. The Dáil could be recalled this week to debate the matter with emergency legislation being passed without delay, as was the case with the wind-down of IBRC.

“The Shannon River Agency Bill 2015, which I published last week, offers an opportunity to create a single new agency to bring together the various bodies and authorities involved in managing the Shannon. I intend on introducing this legislation in the Dáil next week as the co-ordination group option being pursued by the Government is wholly inadequate.”

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