Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW ), Deputy Patrick O’Donovan, recently visited the Shannon Callows region, the area between Athlone and Meelick weir which is prone to seasonal flooding.
He was joined by Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Deputy Pippa Hackett, as well as OPW engineers and representatives from Waterways Ireland.
Travelling from Banagher to Meelick weir, the Ministers were shown the area of the Shannon Callows where the planned removal of constrictions, or ‘pinch points’, can help to delay flooding in the area. Afterwards, both Ministers met with representatives from the Save our Shannon Group and the Irish Farmers’ Association.
“Through the Shannon Flood Risk State Agency Co-ordination Working Group, the OPW works closely with all State Agencies involved in the River Shannon to introduce measures that can assist with managing flood risk in the catchment.
“There are 11 communities in the Shannon River Basin District already benefitting from completed flood relief schemes which are protecting people and properties from the risk of flooding. A further 38 schemes will be delivered in the Shannon area under the Government’s €1bn investment in flood relief measures over the lifetime of the National Development Plan.
“Collectively, all of these schemes when completed will protect 95 percent of those properties identified as being at significant risk from flooding.
“The OPW will also provide €7m to implement a programme of strategic maintenance upstream of Ardnacrusha to assist with mitigating flooding and the removal of a number of ‘pinch points’ through the Shannon Callows that can help to delay flooding in the area. Some €4m of this funding relates directly to the removal of the ‘pinch points’ in the Callows region,” Minister O’Donovan stated.
Studies carried out as part of the Shannon Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM ) Study and the Shannon Flood Risk State Agency Co-ordination Working Group highlighted potential benefits and informed the decision to remove a number of ‘pinch points’ in the Callows region.
Work is advancing and a project brief is currently being prepared for the appointment of a project consultant to identify and manage all of the activities that are necessary to progress through the planning process to enable the commencement of the works. These works can only commence following completion of the appropriate environmental assessments and following receipt of planning permission.