As Storm Jorge swept in from the Atlantic, there have been renewed calls a single river management agency for the Shannon.
Farmers and residents along the river can no longer cope with “despair” and constant fear of flooding, Mid-Shannon flood relief group chairman Michael Silke told The Sunday Times.
Some farmers have experienced up to six serious flooding instances in 25 years, he pointed out.
“These are people who were told during floods in 2009 that this was a one in a hundred-year event – clearly not true when we had a recurrence in 2016 and now,” Mr Silke said
If one Shannon management agency was established, bogland could be used as a natural “sponge” to relieve pressure along critical stretches, Mr Silke told The Sunday Times.
Mr Silke said that half of his own beef and sheep farm has been covered in water since last week, but emphasised that many of his neighbours in the Shannon area were in a far worse situation, with flooding in homes, yards and across swathes of land.
“Leaving the Shannon to the ESB, Waterways Ireland and Office of Public Works (OPW) to manage it is not working,” he said.
However, the OPW approach and its Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) work was defended yesterday by outgoing Minister of State for the OPW Kevin “Boxer” Moran on RTÉ Radio.
In Galway, harbourmaster Capt Brian Sheridan said that “joined-up thinking” was also required for management of severe weather events on the Atlantic seaboard.
“Galway city has dodged a bullet again this weekend, only because the peak of the storm coincides with low tide,” Capt Sheridan said.
“Met Éireann provides a great service, but we need more geographically specific real-time information,” he said. For more, read The Sunday Times report here