The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association has described the Government’s failure to proceed with a statutory single waterways authority as a missed opportunity.
President John Comer said it was a recipe for continued confusion on “who can do what” as regards day-to-day management of rivers and waterways.
He said the Government appeared to have lost its nerve on a single powerful agency assuming full responsibility.
It had resorted to the much less decisive forum of “a co-ordination group”, he said, warning that nitpicking disagreements between state agencies will inevitably lead to long delays in implementing flood prevention measures.
However, Mr Comer welcomed the practical help offered through various schemes and funds. Nobody doubted the Government’s sincere sympathy.
What is lacking is an understanding in the River Shannon’s case that it is not possible some 60 agencies could agree on an agenda and priorities without engaging in bureaucratic squabbling that everyone knew was contributing to the problem.
It was incumbent upon the Government to see the bigger picture and bring finality and clarity to the situation by setting up a single agency, he said.
IFA flood project chairman Tom Turley welcomed the Government’s announcement of a hardship fund to deal with the losses farmers have incurred as a result of the flooding.
On the establishment of a taskforce, he said various initiatives announced in the past have turned out to be toothless.
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