The establishment of a national wetlands park would alleviate flooding from the River Shannon and offer hope to communities in the catchment of the river basin, according to Fine Gael’s Denis Naughten.
“It is now well over 12 months since communities along the Shannon suffered devastating flooding yet few people in the catchment area are confident that the same situation could not arise again,” stated Denis Naughten.
“A national wetlands park, situated in the north midlands, could be flooded during the winter period to provide enhanced water storage between Lough Allen and Lough Ree.
“Such a park would help to alleviate flooding in the Shannon basin by extending the flood plain to a potential extra 18,000 acres just north of Lough Ree. This would naturally flood up to 4.5m in depth and thereby help to alleviate the threat of flooding to the towns of Carrick-on-Shannon and Athlone.
“In addition, this project would not cost the taxpayer one cent as the lands are already in the ownership of Bord na Mona, which has completed a feasibility study on the project in conjunction with the local community and UCD. This is a pro-active step and a constructive solution to severe flooding threats in the Shannon Basin which destroy farmland, isolate communities and damage the natural habitats of wildlife.
“We need to treat the people of the Shannon basin with a bit of dignity, take the flooding problem seriously and look at new ways to address this historic problem.
“In addition, one simple solution which could help the situation, particularly in Carrick-on-Shannon, is better management on the operation of Lough Allen and the provision of additional storage capacity south of Carrick,” concluded Denis Naughten.