Dáil debates

Thursday, 8 February 2024

Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions

Legislative Measures

11:00 am

Photo of Patrick O'DonovanPatrick O'Donovan (Limerick County, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I thank Deputy Nolan. I know she has a strong interest in this and she has raised it on a number of occasions with me.

In 2016, the Government established the Shannon flood risk State agency co-ordination working group to improve co-ordination on flood risk management between all State agencies involved with the river. The group, which is chaired by the Office of Public Works, provides a forum where all the organisations with roles and responsibilities that involve the River Shannon catchment can further monitor and co-ordinate their respective work.

The OPW, in partnership with local authorities, is progressing a programme of flood relief schemes to address flood risk on the river. There are currently 13 schemes in the Shannon river basin and these schemes are already providing protection to more than 2,600 properties. A further 36 flood schemes will be delivered in the Shannon catchment as part of the Government's investment through the catchment flood risk assessment management, CFRAM, which I referenced earlier. Some 24 of these are currently being progressed, including Athlone.

Outside of the major flood relief schemes, local flooding issues are being addressed by local authorities with support from the Office of Public Works under the minor flood mitigation works and coastal protection scheme. This scheme provides funding for minor mitigation works, costing less than €750,000. To date, the OPW has provided over €40 million to some 700 projects on the Shannon. To add to the overall flood protection from flood relief schemes, the Shannon flood risk State agency co-ordination working group produces an annual work programme that demonstrates the extensive work and co-ordination by the State bodies.

The preparation of legislation to improve the management of flood risk on the River Shannon is a Government priority. The River Shannon Management Agency Bill is on the priority legislation list for drafting for spring of this year.  The main purpose of the Bill is to provide flood risk management for the Shannon catchment. The legislation aims to delineate responsibilities and functions for flood risk in the catchment and to improve the identification, co-ordination, monitoring and communication of flood risk management actions and activities along the River Shannon.

The management of flood risk on the river is closely intertwined with other uses of the river, such as navigation, dam safety and electricity generation. The Office of Public Works has conducted an analysis of existing legislation regarding the management of the River Shannon, including a review of the powers of various bodies involved with the river. No assessments of how an agency would be funded have been carried out yet. Given the powers and functions of the various bodies, the preparation of legislation is complicated. The OPW, in line with Government direction, is prioritising the work.  Subject to completion of the requisite consultation and advice from the Office of the Attorney General, it is anticipated that the text of the Bill will be brought to the Cabinet in April.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.