Town Mayor, Cllr. Frankie Keena, has stressed the urgent need to implement adequate flood preventative measures for those living in rural areas of the local community presently effected by the rising flood waters.
“Similar to the flood devastation of 2015, these rising waters are causing havoc for those living in low lying areas.
“It is completely unfair on residents and communities in both urban and rural areas of Athlone and indeed right along the Shannon valley to be put through this stress and worry again with regard to the possible flooding of their properties and I have strong concerns that the impact of further rainfall will put some residences in serious risk,” Cllr. Keena commented.
The Town Mayor noted that a number of major pumps were deployed in urban locations within Athlone to alleviate the rising flood waters in recent times.
“These major pumps are currently being manned by staff from Westmeath County Council. These will be extended as the flooding risk increases. I would like to thank the Council staff for all their help in protecting local properties and I have been informed that our Defence Forces are on standby to help out if necessary.
“I am working very closely with the Council to try and minimise the effects of this flooding crisis on the relevant properties and I am constantly keeping a close eye on flood levels both within urban and rural areas,” Cllr. Keena stressed.
The Town Mayor stated that the permanent flood defences in situ are of immense assistance to the Council but are only partially completed.
“The permanent flood defences that are partially in place in the Athlone area are a great help to the council as they reduce the areas where water needs to be held back. The problem is four years have now passed and these flood defences are still only partially completed. There is an urgent need to get this work finished and I will be looking for a full report on completion timescales.
“Unfortunately, no permanent flood defences have been put in place or even planned to help residents and farming communities living along the Shannon in rural areas such as Carrickobrien and Clonbonny.
“They again are being faced with severe damage to their properties, fodder and livestock, a horrific situation in which to be. It is a certainty that they need immediate financial support to buy fodder for their livestock.
“I recall all the talk with regard to dredging the River Shannon to remove the silt from the river bed about four years ago, but this never happened. There is an urgent need for this work to be carried out, people living in these areas need reassurance as it is completely unfair on them to be ignored like this. It is time to get this work done now,” Cllr. Keena concluded.