Farmers lead protest to highlight government inaction on flood risk

With the threat of winter flooding on the horizon, the IFA has urged the Government to set out an immediate plan of action, including timelines, for works to minimise the risk of flood damage.

Hundreds of farmers from Longford, Leitrim, Roscommon, Offaly, Westmeath, Galway, and Clare attended a protest yesterday outside the Civic Offices in Athlone, Co Westmeath, to coincide with the OPW public consultation on the Shannon Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management plan.

IFA president Joe Healy said farmers are angry no work has yet proceeded to avoid the recurrence of the severe floods of last winter.

“The winter floods had a devastating impact on the livelihoods of thousands of farmers and on rural dwellers who remain fearful that the situation will be repeated because no action has been taken action to prevent it,” said Mr Healy.

“The onus is on the Government to act. Promises are wearing very thin with the thousands of people living and farming adjacent to the Shannon and surrounding areas, including turloughs.”

Mr Healy said the newly published Shannon report is disappointing. He said it mainly looks at protecting towns and villages, and not rural areas and farmland.

“Where works are proposed, the environmental good is over-riding the public good,” said Mr Healy.

“This is not acceptable. The hardship farmers and rural householders experienced last winter cannot be allowed to be repeated because of inaction.”

Mr Healy said that the draft report is due to be discussed in each county council.

“It is important all councillors in the relevant areas reflect the views of the public to allow the necessary changes to be made before a final document is agreed later this year,” he said.


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