People living in the River Shannon’s flood-risk zones have been urged to engage in the state’s largest-ever flood map consultation process.

The Irish National Flood Forum, which represents communities devastated by recent flooding incidents, said it is essential that communities living in the upper and lower reaches of the Shannon examine the maps which were published for public consultation last week, and have their say on future flood defence projects.

“We need your feedback. This is your chance to have your say. We need to capture your local knowledge,” forum spokesman Jer Buckley said.

He said local knowledge ensured the inclusion of a tributary in the flood-prone area of Blackpool, in Cork City, which had been omitted from draft flood maps.

But he said once the error was brought to the attention of the OPW, the tributary was added, and extra computer modelling was done before Blackpool’s flood defence project was finalised.

“The consultation period for the first round of maps, where local knowledge can be included in this study by the OPW, finishes on September 23,” he said.

“I would urge people living in Cavan, Clare, Galway, Laois, Leitrim, Limerick, Longford, Mayo, Meath, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary, Westmeath, to consult the maps, and work together to help combat flooding in their community,” he said.

Seán Canney, the Minister of State at the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief, announced details last week of the first round of public consultation on Draft Flood Risk Management Plans, starting with the Shannon and South Western River Basin Districts.

It is one of the final stages in the largest ever state-wide study of flood risk around the country.

In 2011, 300 areas were identified as being at potentially significant risk from flooding from all flooding sources; 90 of those are coastal areas.

Extensive and detailed engineering modelling has been completed for each of these areas and detailed flood risk maps are now ready for public consultation.

The Government is providing €430m for flood risk management measures up to 2021 — a 59% increase on the sum for the previous five years.

Work has started on the Claregalway, Bandon, and Skibbereen schemes this year, with works expected to start on projects at Foynes, Limerick, Northlands, Co Meath, and on the Dunkellin River in Co Galway before the end of the year.

Work is due to start next year on the first phase of the state’s largest flood relief scheme in Cork City.

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