Longford-Westmeath Independent TD Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran has welcomed a commitment given by Minister Séan Canney regarding the lowering of lake levels at Lough Allen.
The announcement was made by the Minister for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief at the fifth meeting of the Shannon Flood Risk State Agency Co-ordination Working Group in Dublin last Tuesday, October 18. An Taoiseach Enda Kenny also addressed the group which was chaired by the incoming chairman of the Office of Public Works, Maurice Buckley.
At the meeting Minister Canney announced that a decision has been taken by the group to trial the lowering of the water level in Lough Allen to help mitigate potential flood risk for this winter.
From the analysis completed, this may have a small positive impact on the extent of certain flood events that might occur during a winter. This is to be achieved through protocols to be agreed between the OPW, the ESB, and Waterways Ireland with input from the relevant local authorities.
The modelling and analysis completed shows that this action can only be done in specified conditions to avoid causing or exacerbating flooding downstream, and this trial will need to be carefully monitored. The group also agreed to evaluate the benefits from any short- and medium-term programme of localised dredging and any future piloting to remove some pinch points along the Shannon.
Welcoming the news, Deputy Moran said the group will discuss both this evaluation and progression with the lake levels trial at its next meeting at the end of November.
“I want to congratulate the Minister and his working group for the innovative approach that they are taking to the River Shannon flooding problem. As the Minister has said, it demonstrates the continued commitment of all the State agencies to work together in a co-ordinated way to explore all measures that may benefit the communities along the River Shannon.”
He added that the Government is continuing to ensure that measures to deal effectively with flooding through the development of the proactive CFRAM programme and plans, and the continued investment in flood defence capital schemes, will receive the highest priority now and in the future.