Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on OPW and Flood Relief, Deputy Eugene Murphy, has launched a Bill to help address flooding issues along the River Shannon.
Deputy Murphy, along with Deputies Barry Cowen, Robert Troy, and Anne Rabbitte, have set out new legislation to remove outdated water level restrictions on ESB-regulated lakes along the Shannon.
“The River Shannon is an immense natural resource for our country,” Deputy Murphy said. “But as the frequency and intensity of flooding has risen over the past number of years, it’s clear that we need new measures to help protect vulnerable communities living along its banks.
“This Bill addresses the concerns raised by various community groups and aims to update old legislation in order to ensure the ESB has full flexibility in setting water levels on Lough Allen, Lough Derg, and Lough Ree. This will lead to a more co-ordinated decisionmaking process, free from legal constraints, and will help maintain an adequate, safe water level.
“Essentially, the Bill removes specific water levels from legislation and allows the ESB to continue to use its own expertise to set these levels in conjunction with other relevant bodies such as Waterways Ireland, Inland Fisheries, and the local authorities.
“This Bill is not a silver bullet. There is no single solution to ease flooding along the Shannon, but our Bill can form part of an overall package of measures designed to address the difficulties communities on the Shannon are facing.”
In the coming months, Fianna Fáil will bring forward a suite of proposals to address the flooding issue, including a single River Shannon Agency Bill which will “cut through the bureaucratic problems experienced in tackling problems on the Shannon”. Proposals will also include legislation on introducing a UK-style flood insurance fund that will provide a form of cover for people who struggle to get insurance for their homes after experiencing flooding.
Fianna Fáil is also hoping to provide additional funding for flood defences. The Fianna Fáil manifesto committed an extra €50m to flood defence capital investment. This funding will also be used to target investment in areas identified by the CFRAM project on the Shannon River Basin area.
“Communities along the Shannon need real action to help deal with escalating flood problems,” Deputy Murphy said. “This suite of measures will help limit the impact of increasing flood waters.”