Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Ceisteanna (331, 332)

Brian Stanley

Ceist:

331. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the consideration that has been given to flood relief on the Shannon Callows, County Offaly. [25967/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brian Stanley

Ceist:

332. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the consideration that has been given to establishing a single authority with responsibility for flood relief on the Shannon Callows, County Offaly. [25968/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 331 and 332 together. 

As part of the Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme, the flood risk of 67 communities along the Shannon River was assessed. The Shannon CFRAM involved extensive public consultation so that local knowledge and opinions have informed its output.

The output of the CFRAM Programme was the Flood Risk Management Plans (FRMPs) that include 34 new flood relief schemes to protect towns in the Shannon River Basin District, as part of the Government’s €1bn investment in flood relief over the decade to the year 2027.  These new schemes will be subject to a public consultation process and are additional to 13 schemes already completed or under construction.  Together, these will protect 95% of properties against their significant risk from flooding.  Overall, work is now complete or underway to protect 80% of at risk properties.  Details of these schemes are available on www.floodinfo.ie.

The CFRAM Programme and the FRMPs has informed the work of the Shannon Flood Risk State Co-ordination Working Group, established by the Government in 2016 to support the CFRAM and FRMPs and to enhance the ongoing co-operation of all State Agencies involved with the River Shannon. 

On its establishment, a priority for the Group was to develop a Work Programme that was informed through public consultation days. The Programme together with local knowledge demonstrated the extensive range of activities and co-ordination by all State Agencies already underway to jointly and proactively address flood risk along the Shannon. The Group’s Annual Work Programmes are available at www.opw.ie

The Group has taken a number of significant decisions since its establishment including:

- Targeted maintenance at a number of locations on the River Shannon.

- A study to examine the removal of constrictions resulting in lower summer water levels through the Shannon Callows, to help address the summer flooding in this area while maintaining the appropriate navigation requirements.

- A study to examine the cause, degree and rate of restriction downstream of Parteen Weir in the Lower Shannon.

- A pilot to lower the lake levels in Lough Allen to help alleviate any significant flooding that may occur.

- A preliminary assessment of the potential for strategic maintenance on the River Shannon.

In October 2019, the Group agreed to a €7 million strategic programme of maintenance works and the removal of constrictions or ‘pinch points’ on the bed of the River Shannon between Athlone and Meelick Weir to improve the conveyancing of the River Shannon. The decision to undertake these works was noted by the Government in December 2019.  Public consultation will be required and progression will be subject to full environmental assessment and planning permission.  Waterways Ireland has advised that it has commenced work on advancing the various interventions for these works with implementation expected to commence in 2021.