Minister Harris welcomes Government Decision to approve the terms of reference for the Shannon Flood Risk State Agency Co-ordination Working Group.

26 January 16

Minister Simon Harris, Minister of State with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works, today (26 January 2016) welcomed the Government Decision to approve the terms of reference for the Shannon Flood Risk State Agency Co-ordination Working Group.

The Group will be chaired by Clare McGrath, Chairman of the Office of Public Works as the lead agency for flood risk management in Ireland. Membership of the Group will comprise of all State agencies with a role in the flood risk management of the Shannon Catchment. The first meeting of the Group will be held next week. The membership and full terms of reference are detailed below.

Speaking today, Minister Harris stated “I welcome this decision to commence the work of the Shannon Co-ordination Working Group. This Group will build on the existing work and commitment of all the agencies involved and will ensure the best possible level of co-ordination between all of the statutory bodies involved. The recent severe weather has highlighted the need to bring all the work of these agencies together in a solution focussed manner”.

Minister Harris went on to note that “flooding in Ireland is dealt with through three pillars - by the work of my own Office, the Office of Public Works through its CFRAM Programme, its capital works schemes and thirdly, a whole of government approach across a wide variety of Government Departments covering such areas as humanitarian aid, fodder aid for farmers, flood insurance, community resilience and the recently approved flood forecasting service. The work of this Group will link into these three pillars to deliver the highest level of efficiencies in the implementation of flood management infrastructure. One of the first actions the Group will involve a comprehensive audit of all relevant activity by relevant stakeholders – in other words, what each State agency is doing on the Shannon which may benefit flood risk management.  In addition, by St Patrick's Day, the Group will also have a shared work programme developed, with key performance indicators identified for each agency”

The Minister concluded “the CFRAM programme is a key input into the work of the Group and therefore the establishment of the Group is timely in that respect. The shared protocols, approaches to maintenance and all other flood risk related activities which the quarterly progress reports of this Group will highlight, will provide increased linkages between all of the agencies involved and I have no doubt that this will lead to a better understanding of the Shannon for all concerned”.

-ENDS-

For further information or if you wish to interview Minister Harris please contact Colette Davis, OPW Press Officer at 087 947 5552 or colette.davis@opw.ie

Notes to Editors:

Membership of the Shannon Flood Risk State Agency Co-Ordination Working Group:

Members of the Group are at CEO level or equivalent with the following State Agencies:

  • Office of Public Works,
  • Local Authorities, represented by the City and County Managers Association,
  • Waterways Ireland,
  • Electricity Supply Board,
  • Inland Fisheries Ireland,
  • Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht,
  • Bord naMona,
  • Environment Protection Agency,
  • Irish Water,
  • The Attorney General’s Office and other Government Departments may also participate, as requested by the Chairman.

Terms of Reference of the Group:

Informed by the National Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management Programme and in order to further effectively manage and mitigate the flood risk on the Shannon catchment, the Group will:

  • Develop and agree a Shannon Flood Risk Work Programme (with identified output KPI’s) to focus and prioritise actions and activities to manage flood risk for the Shannon catchment.
  • Provide coordinated direction and guidance to ensure delivery by State agencies, to meet their statutory role, of their constituent work programme in relation to flood risk management.
  • Adopt and/or develop guidelines and protocols to inform and/or assist better co-ordination and co-operation by and between State Agencies.
  • Informed by an audit of roles and responsibilities in relation to flood risk management on the Shannon catchment, seek clarity on any legal and policy issues to inform its work.
  • Consult with other bodies, including voluntary bodies and communities.
  • Provide guidance in relation to roles and responsibilities for non-statutory bodies involved in managing flood risk on the Shannon catchment.
  • When agreed, monitor and report quarterly on the implementation of the Shannon Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Plan.
  • Develop other structures as an efficient approach to progressing and informing its work.