Consultants are being drafted to look at ways of combating flooding in parts of Leitrim, including removing pinch points on the River Shannon, as part of a €9m investment to tackle major flooding in the county.
Minister of state for the Office of Public Works and flood relief, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, said the €9m would cover schemes in Carrick-on-Shannon, Mohill, and Dromod.
Severe flooding caused considerable hardship in Carrick-on-Shannon and other parts of Leitrim in 2009 and again in the winter of 2015/2016.
Speaking following a meeting with Leitrim County Council and local campaigners, the minister said there was agreement on how flood relief schemes would be progressed in the county.
Local campaigners have previously expressed reservations about the focus on defence walls and other barriers in the government’s plans.
John Dunne, a member of Carrick Flood Action Group (CFAG) said: “We are all about conveyance of water, getting it away quickly. I don’t think there is an appetite for walls in Carrick.”
Mr Moran told RTÉ News that a steering group would be set up and consultants appointed who would work with the local authority and the public to determine the best way forward.
He said targeted maintenance had been ongoing in the River Shannon for the past two years and had come to a “successful conclusion” and that the focus now was on 16 pinch points between Meelick Weir and Athlone.
He said consultants would be tasked with examining how to remove these with a view to lowering water levels and speeding up the flow of water to the sea “where it doesn’t cause the damage it is causing”.
Liam Farrell, chairman of CFAG, expressed disappointment that priority has not been given to “basic measures” such as making the weir at Jamestown operational and clearing obstacles in the river.
He also said CFAG knew very little of the detail of the plan.
Brokers Ireland welcomed news of the €9m investment, saying currently an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 homes and businesses are unable to get flood insurance cover.