Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 5 March 2024

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action

Fish Migration and Barriers to Migration: Discussion (Resumed)

Photo of Martin KennyMartin Kenny (Sligo-Leitrim, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I thank the witnesses for their presentation and commend them on the work they are doing on the issues under discussion, particularly drainage in many parts of the country. My area has had many difficulties down the years. This is the Joint Committee on Environment and Climate Action. One thing that always strikes me is that the impact of these flood events on the environment is often not looked at. We talk about the damage to property and farmland. I would like to tease this issue out. Farmers involved in the curlew scheme are trying to protect the curlew and the next thing that happens is an early summer flood and nests are washed away. It is a significant problem.

In many towns, when treatment systems becomes flooded, all the sewage gets out and goes into the environment, including rivers. It also affects rural areas with small one-off treatment systems. The danger and impact of this is not often looked. The opening statement mentioned obstacles, some of which are man-made. We have the weir at Drumshanbo on the River Shannon where something like that is there for a very long time and is no longer in use and while it might look nice, it causes significant problems. Sometimes it is a bridge or a pinch point on a river.

A lot of commercial forestry has been planted along rivers, which this makes access difficult. These trees grow very fast and a lot of foliage grows around them. They close in the river and sometimes fall into it. They affect flow significantly and cause significant problems with flooding upstream. Can more be done to ensure this does not happen? Could there be more forward planning to ensure that when these forests are being developed, that does not happen in the future?


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