Blame for failure to dredge rivers and streams rests squarely with the Government – Liadh Ní Riada MEP
Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada today welcomed clarification from the European Commission that it is in fact the Fine Gael and Labour Government, and subsequent governments, that are to blame for the failure to adequately dredge rivers and streams.
“Some have commented recently that adequate dredging of rivers and streams, which may in some areas have alleviated the worst of the flooding. The Commission have said quite clearly that EU Directives do not ban dredging rivers or streams, and there is nothing in either the Water Framework, Floods, Birds or Habitats Directives that prevent dredging.
“Such works would be permissible under EU law in order to protect lives or property, or in the overriding public interest, should the Government wish to undertake them.
“The failure by successive governments over the years to adequately maintain rivers and streams, and to undertake necessary local prevention works has proven disastrous. The rush to blame the EU, or the complexities of interagency cooperation at home just add insult to injury. This Fine Gael and Labour Government, and the Fianna Fáil one previous, must take the blame.
“For almost a full month I have been calling for the Government to seek assistance from the EU Solidarity Fund, which the Commission referred to in their statement. I repeat my call to the Irish Government to apply for funds from the EUSF to aid in the clean-up operation and to aid those families and businesses affected.”