Updated: 23/07/12 : 12:13:15
Speaking following a meeting with Minister Brian Hayes on Friday, IFA President John Bryan said the Minister must address water levels on the River Shannon immediately to avoid further losses for farmers along the river.
He said, “The current system, which is underpinned by protocols dating back to the early 1970s, disregards landowers’ interests. It is outdated and needs to be overhauled urgently to address the concerns of farmers whose land is submerged in water frequently.”
John Bryan said, “Minister Hayes, who has responsibility for OPW, must take a lead here and insist on implementing a strategy. This must include an early warning system for extreme weather patterns and allow water to move on when heavy rainfall occurs. We also need to see essential maintenance work carried out. All of these measures have to be given legislative effect.”
The IFA President said the promise of a lead agency must be delivered upon. He said the current situation whereby over half a dozen agencies have a say in water levels, with some having a veto on whether remedial works go ahead, is untenable and must be changed. “The failures of the past must not be allowed continue and it is up to the Government to address this issue once and for all.”
The IFA Flood Project Team Chairman Michael Silke said, “The persistent failure to maintain our waterways over the last 30 years has created unnecessary hardship for thousands of farm families and rural dwellers. Successive Governments have not dealt with this issue and landowners have suffered the consequences of their inertia. It is now time for action.”