Dredging work is under way on a section of the Shannon in an effort to reduce the risk of flooding this winter... but farmers say a more urgent approach to the problem is needed | Read more:
Dredging work is under way on a section of the River Shannon in an effort to reduce the risk of flooding this winter.Waterways Ireland is removing vegetation, silt and debris as part of an ongoing programme of maintenance, close to Meelick Weir in Co Galway. A natural dam has developed on the river over several years. It is now being removed from the riverbed, by diggers operating from a specially constructed pontoon. Material excavated from the Shannon is being loaded onto a barge before being brought ashore, where it will be dried out and spread on land in due course. The Minister of State with responsibility for Flood Relief, Kevin Boxer Moran, says the work is an essential element of a plan to clear so-called "pinch points" along the river. The work can only be carried out following detailed consultations. This is partly due to the sensitive ecosystem and also because of the many different agencies that are responsible for the river and its surrounds. Minister Moran has rejected calls by landowners for a single agency approach to the management of the Shannon, saying this would further delay maintenance work. The operation at Meelick Weir is expected to continue for a number of weeks. It will involve the removal of hundreds of tonnes of silt, peat and vegetation from the river. While it will ease the flood risk in the immediate area, many landowners are concerned at the slow pace of progress. Heavy rain during August has led to widespread summer flooding on the Shannon Callows, the land bordering the riverbank. The Shannon Action Committee, which is lobbying for a broad programme of dredging works, says the Government needs to act in a more timely fashion to address the need for flood relief. Minister Moran says he expects to have proposals relating to other flood zones completed in the coming weeks and that funding will be made available for all works. Read more: RTÉ News
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