I propose to take Questions Nos. 35, 48 and 55 together.
The Government has noted the study by the Shannon Flood Risk State Agency Co-ordination Working Group that supports a programme of strategic maintenance to help mitigate flooding along the River Shannon and a further study on the removal of a series of constrictions or ‘pinch points’ through the Shannon Callows that can help to delay flooding in the area. The Government has agreed that the OPW will provide €7m for all of these works, of which €4m relates to the removal of ‘pinch points’ through the Shannon Callows.
Work is advancing to progress the project for the removal of ‘pinch points’ in the Shannon Callows. A Steering Group has been established to oversee this project and it last met on 16th November, 2021. A scope of work has been drafted for the appointment of a consultant to identify and manage all of the activities that are necessary to progress through the planning process to enable the commencement of these works. This includes the identification and completion of all environmental assessments. It is anticipated that the tendering process for this service will commence in the coming weeks. Waterways Ireland, on behalf of the Shannon Group, will act as the Contracting Authority for this project.
The works can only commence following the completion of the appropriate environmental assessments and after receipt of planning permission. This is a time intensive process and there are a range of variables outside the control of the Shannon Group that may impact on the overall timescale for delivery of the project.
I would like to assure the Deputy that my officials and I have been working with Waterways Ireland to progress this project as soon as possible and I last met with Waterways Ireland on 1st December, 2021 in this regard.