Fianna Fáil TD for Longford-Westmeath, Robert Troy, says the issue of flood prevention must not be allowed fall off the agenda now that the General Election has been held.
Deputy Troy made the comments after questioning Minister for the OPW Simon Harris on the issue in the Dáil last Tuesday (March 22 ).
“The widespread flooding that occurred in the Midlands during the winter caused serious hardship for many families, businesses and farmers,” Deputy Troy said. “The effects of the flooding are still being experienced with people having to put their lives on hold to deal with the consequences.
“Prior to the election there was a lot of discussion on flooding. This momentum needs to be maintained now that the 32nd Dáil has convened. To date much of the discussion has been on flood alleviation efforts, but we need to shift the focus to flood prevention. Towns, villages, and farmland need to be protected from flooding and the Government will have to play a leading role in achieving this.
“Last January I published ‘The Shannon River Agency Bill’ which aims to create a single new agency to bring together the various bodies and authorities involved in managing the Shannon. This would allow for greater co-ordination with the aim of preventing flooding. Unfortunately Fine Gael and Labour refused to debate this legislation. I will continue my efforts to have this legislation enacted now that the election has been held.
“The Government, OPW, and local authorities need to be proactive with their flood prevention efforts. We can’t continue the same old cycle where we wait for devastating flooding to occur before we come to the aid of distressed homeowners, businesses, and farmers. The aim should be to prevent flooding in the first place. That is my focus.”