Minister Moran Secures Government Support for €7m Towards Maintenance Plans for River Shannon

12 January 20

Mr. Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran T.D., Minister of State with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief today 12 January 2020 announced he has secured Government support for €7m investment to advance a planned programme of maintenance works including removing constrictions or ‘pinch points’ on the bed of the River Shannon at the Callows Region between Athlone and Meelick Weir to improve the conveyancing of the River Shannon.

This investment as well as helping to manage flooding can support the tourism, navigation and agricultural sectors for this region, said the Minister.

Studies undertaken by the Shannon Flood Risk State Agency Co-ordination Working Group, identified the conveyancing benefits from removing these restrictions and some strategic maintenance of the upper and middle Shannon to help halt further deterioration. The completed works estimated at €7m, will be met from the Office of Public Works (OPW) existing Voted funds and includes the costs for the full environmental assessments required to progress the works to the planning process to obtain consent to proceed. Works will also be informed by public consultation.

The Flood Risk Management Plans launched in May 2018 by the Minister with An Taoiseach Mr. Leo Varadkar TD will protect 95% of properties at significant risk of flooding along the Shannon by the delivery of 47 flood relief schemes over the coming decade. Today work by the OPW and local authorities to protect 80% of these properties is complete or underway.

The Shannon Group is building on both these Plans and the existing activities by State Agencies to explore and introduce other co-ordinated flood risk solutions that may have some benefit. The Group has already introduced a pilot to reduce lake levels in Lough Allen and some targeted maintenance. The Shannon Group expects to complete a further study in 2020 to identify the cause, rate and degree of restriction over time in the Lower Shannon that may inform further strategic maintenance plans for the area.

-ENDS-

For further information please contact the OPW Press Office at opwcsc@opw.ie

Note

This Shannon Group, chaired by the Office of Public Works, was established by Government in early 2016 to provide a forum to enhance the on-going co-operation across all of the State Agencies to manage flood risk on the Shannon catchment.

Terms of Reference

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.

Members of the Group at CEO and Assistant Secretary level or equivalent with the following State Agencies:

  • Office of Public Works (Chair)
  • Local Authorities, represented by the City and County Management Association
  • Waterways Ireland
  • Electricity Supply Board
  • Inland Fisheries Ireland
  • Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
  • Bord na Móna
  • Environment Protection Agency
  • Irish Water