Work will improve flow of Shannon to help address local flooding
Local TD Denis Naughten has been informed that work by Waterways Ireland is about to commence on the old channel to improve the flow of the River Shannon to Meelick Weir.
“These works, which will involve the cleaning of this channel that had closed up due to a lack of maintenance, will have a direct impact on the flow of the River Shannon and the scale of flooding after heavy rainfall on the River Suck as well as the Shannon itself,” said Denis Naughten.
”This will help reduce the scale of flooding experienced along the banks of the Shannon within the Callows as well as address severe flooding south of the town of Ballinasloe on the River Suck.
”This investment, combined with the works carried out to date and plans to re-flood bogs within the catchment of the Shannon and Suck rivers, will have significant impact overtime on the threat of flooding within our area.
”As the government minister with responsibility for the ESB, Bord na Mona and Inland Fisheries I worked closely with former Ministers Boxer Moran and Sean Canney to ensure that real progress could be made on addressing the scale of flooding within the Shannon and Suck catchments.
”During my time in Cabinet I assisted then Minister Moran in carrying out the first-ever drainage works by the Irish State on the River Shannon and this precedent has allowed for this work to be carried out by Waterways Ireland.”
Last week in Dáil Éireann, Denis Naughten also sought an update on plans to remove several pinch points to the flow of the River Shannon between Athlone and Meelick Weir that was approved by the Government two years ago.
In response to Deputy Naughten, Minister for the OPW, Patrick O’Donovan TD stated that tenders were now being sought to appoint consultants to oversee the project.
Commenting on the response, Denis Naughten said: “While I’m well aware of Minister O’Donovan’s commitment to the completion of these works, I cannot fathom why we are only now appointing consultants to progress this project two years after the decision was taken by Government to proceed.
”We all accept that we must go through the proper planning and environmental procedures but taking two years to get this part of the process underway when we were all led to believe that these authorisations were nearing completion for these vital works, is completely unacceptable,” concluded Denis Naughten.
20th January 2022
35. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when the €7 million allocated in December 2019 to alleviate constrictions to the flow of water in the Shannon Callows between Athlone and Meelick will be drawn down; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1774/22]
48. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the progress to date on the €7 million investment in the removal of the pinch points on the River Shannon which will address the scale of summer flooding in the Shannon Callows; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1773/22]
55. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the steps being taken to alleviate constrictions to the flow of water in the Shannon Callows between Athlone and Meelick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1775/22]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 35, 48 and 55 together.
The Government has noted the study by the Shannon Flood Risk State Agency Co-ordination Working Group that supports a programme of strategic maintenance to help mitigate flooding along the River Shannon and a further study on the removal of a series of constrictions or ‘pinch points’ through the Shannon Callows that can help to delay flooding in the area. The Government has agreed that the OPW will provide €7m for all of these works, of which €4m relates to the removal of ‘pinch points’ through the Shannon Callows.
Work is advancing to progress the project for the removal of ‘pinch points’ in the Shannon Callows. A Steering Group has been established to oversee this project and it last met on 16th November, 2021. A scope of work has been drafted for the appointment of a consultant to identify and manage all of the activities that are necessary to progress through the planning process to enable the commencement of these works. This includes the identification and completion of all environmental assessments. It is anticipated that the tendering process for this service will commence in the coming weeks. Waterways Ireland, on behalf of the Shannon Group, will act as the Contracting Authority for this project.
The works can only commence following the completion of the appropriate environmental assessments and after receipt of planning permission. This is a time intensive process and there are a range of variables outside the control of the Shannon Group that may impact on the overall timescale for delivery of the project.
I would like to assure the Deputy that my officials and I have been working with Waterways Ireland to progress this project as soon as possible and I last met with Waterways Ireland on 1st December, 2021 in this regard.