Shannon Flood Risk Group takes unprecedented decision for the commencement of planning for strategic maintenance works to be carried out on the River Shannon

9 December 16

The Shannon Flood Risk State Agency Co-ordination Working Group at its meeting in Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim on 2 December, 2016 took a major decision to develop a plan for a strategic maintenance programme on the River Shannon.  Programmed maintenance works have not been carried out on the Shannon for a significant period of time and silt and vegetation has built up which impacts on the river’s conveyance capacity.  The Shannon Flood Risk Group, which is led by the OPW, considers that maintenance works on the Shannon are essential to halt the deterioration of the river channel.  It recognises that the carrying out of strategic maintenance works on the Shannon will be problematic and in bringing forward its plans, the Group will be addressing all of the necessary legal, environmental, technical and other considerations that arise.   It intends to bring together all of the relevant stakeholders to discuss, initiate and manage the development of this programme.

Séan Canney, T.D., Minister for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief attended the meeting and said "The OPW already maintains over 11,500 km of river channel and over 700km of embankments protecting some 650,000 acres of agricultural land. I am delighted that the Group, which is chaired by the OPW, has taken the decision to develop a plan for strategic maintenance works on the River Shannon.  There have been many calls for a maintenance programme to be put in place for the Shannon.  A planned maintenance programme for the Shannon would complement the Group’s Work Programme and the specific measures that are identified for the areas at risk in the Draft Shannon Flood Risk Management Plan. The Flood Risk Management Plans are a major step forward to help Government make informed investment decisions on flood risk management and for which the Government has provided €430 million in the Capital Investment Plan 2016 to 2021”.

The Minister went on to say “This is very positive news and comes on top of the decisions by the Group at its last meeting to trial the lowering of the lake levels in Lough Allen to help mitigate potential flood risk for this Winter and to evaluate the benefits from any short and medium term programme of localised dredging and any future piloting to remove some pinch points along the Shannon”.

The Minister concluded “The Shannon Flood Risk Group was established by the Government earlier this year to bring about the greatest level of co-ordination and co-operation between all of the statutory bodies involved in the management of the River Shannon. The decisions taken by the Group to date clearly demonstrate that it is working well and is firmly focussed on finding practical solutions that will help reduce flood risk on the Shannon to the benefit of the communities along our largest river.  The results of this cutting-edge project will inform consideration of rolling out a similar management model for other river basins”.

-ENDS-

For further information, please contact Ciaran Conroy, OPW Press Officer at 087 947 5552 or ciaran.conroy@opw.ie 

Notes to Editors:

The Shannon Flood Risk State Agency Co-ordination Working Group was established by the Government in January 2016 to enhance on-going co-operation across all of the State Agencies involved with the River Shannon. It held its first meeting on 1 February, 2016.  The membership and full terms of reference of the Group are detailed below.

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 County and City Management Association
  • Waterways Ireland
  • Electricity Supply Board
  • Inland Fisheries Ireland
  • Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government
  • Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs
  • Bord na Móna
  • Environmental 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.
Papers from Working Group Meetings.

Documentation, including the Agenda, Minutes and other material relating to meetings of the Group is available on the OPW website - www.opw.ie