Flooding will be repeated at a further huge cost to farmers and local authorities unless rivers are cleaned, farmers warned at a meeting organised by the ICSA on Thursday.
No remedial work had been done since last winter to protect rural areas from further flooding, angry farmers claimed in Athlone. Money has instead been spent on consultants’ reports, the ICSA meeting heard. Measures proposed to defend towns would push water out to farmland, the 200 farmers present complained.
The CFRAM report found that it would cost €150m to remove the eight “pinch points” on the Shannon, Councillor John Dolan said. “But if you total up the costs faced by all county councils in dealing with flooding and road repairs, for even just one flood event, it comes near that.”
We want no more reports
“We want no more reports – CFRAMS is an excuse not to do work,” one farmer from the floor said.
There is money available now carry out work such as cleaning trees from rivers, Minister for Communications, Climate Change and Environment Denis Naughten told the meeting. “Local authorities have to help by putting in applications for money. We need to make sure applications go in and work is done.”
Up to now, there has been just lip service paid to the problem – but no action, he said, and “there are people determined to find a frog or a fish skeleton for their own agendas”.
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy said he had been told by senior EU officials that EU law is not the reason why the Shannon has not been cleaned. “They made it very clear – if there is an emergency, you can do the work.”