Michael Fitzmaurice TD has called for practical action to be taken now to avoid another winter of flooding throughout the region.
Picture Credit: Irish Defence Forces
The call comes following the recent publication of the River Shannon Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management report and meetings regarding on-going flooding issues in Roscommon. Incidentally, the comments came ahead of the release of news figures from the ESB havewhich confirm that water levels along the Shannon Callows, downstream from Athlone to Portumna, are almost 16 inches higher than this time last year.
Leadership needed on CFRAM Report
“The contents of the CFRAM (Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management) reports carried out after last year’s flooding are very disappointing and unless there is a total change of attitude in the Office of Public Works we are headed for serious flooding again next winter and every winter into the future”.
“For instance they conclude that local rivers cannot be dredged because of environmental concerns. That is totally wrong because I was in Europe recently and was told that dredging can take place when there is a threat to people’s homes and livelihoods because of flooding.
As per usual there is far too much red tape and rules and regulations connected with these reports. For instance in the Meelick area there is a build up of soil, small hills and trees which should be removed and which would relieve the situation there.”
Michael Fitzmaurice added “Incredibly not one turlough is addressed in the report despite the huge problems associated with them. I also believe that the problems in Crossmolina can be solved too if the will was there.”
“It has been proven that doing a small bit of remedial work every year has not worked and we have faced serious and worsening flooding problems on an ongoing basis for the past 9 years without achieving anything. There is huge sympathy and an outpouring of anger when people are flooded every winter but the good weather comes and they are forgotten about until the next winter comes around again and it’s just not good enough.”
“What we need now is not more soft chat and fine words. We need leadership on this most serious issue. We don’t want to be back here again this coming winter with even worse problems. There are solutions out there and we must sort out this problem now once and for all” he concluded.
Lough Funshinagh Thurlough
“With regard to the public meeting that I attended last week in Rahara, I know that there is a geological survey being carried out, but we can do all the surveys we like and look at all the underground passages etc. but the reality is that if these passageways are blocked we have to find a way to get the people out of the turmoil that they have faced and will face again if things continue as they are at the moment.”
“There is no doubt that the water levels in the turlough are going down at a much slower rate than usual which shows that there is a blockage. That the level of Lough Funshinagh is above the level of the River Shannon leaves the opportunity to pipe the excess water into the Shannon to ensure that houses and roads in the area are safe and that the extra land that was flooded this year is safeguarded into the future. Turloughs will always fill up to a certain level but if we can put in a pipe for the excess water and send that pipe towards Ardmullen it would solve two problems in one.” Michael Fitzmaurice concluded by saying “No matter how many reports that we have, this is only viable solution that will solve this problem once and for all and we should do it right now.”
Commenting on the recent flooding adjacent to the Wind Farm on Sliabh Bán Michael Fitzmaurice said “I have made it very clear what I believe is the problem and I hope people listen to my view. We don’t want a situation where people in the area will not be able to get insurance as this is not a flood risk area. If certain works are carried out in the area this situation can be avoided into the future. I will be working hard with the local authority and all the stakeholders on this problem until it is solved.