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Ní Riada calls on ESB to outline management plan for Gearagh Woodlands

3 February, 2016 - by Liadh Ní Riada MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has called on the ESB and the Irish Government to outline a much needed management plan around the hydro-electric scheme built at Gearagh in the upper Lee Valley.

Speaking from Cork with the Sinn Féin Candidate for Cork North West, Nigel Dennehy , Ms Ní Riada said,

"I have met with representatives from the campaign group 'Free the Lee', which is a campaign aimed at recovering the Gearagh in the upper Lee Valley in County Cork. The Gearagh is a native alluvial forest and is both ecologically and culturally important.

"Over the past months 2,477 people have signed a petition in support of the restoration of The Gearagh, which campaigners believe is threatened due to the presence of two dams.

"This is an ongoing issue especially for a number of ecologists who are fully aware of the negative implications of dams on our rivers.

"A number of experts have contributed to the case outlining the impact such a hydroelectric scheme has on a natural river and these details are now in the public domain. Unfortunately no emphasis or mention was given over to the flood implications post clear-felling of thousands of acres of wet woodlands. Therefore it is suspected that this was a contributory factor to the severe flooding that the area has been hit with in recent months.

"Ecologists and river specialists have studied this area and are in full support of something concretely positive being undertaken by the responsible authorities. I am also calling for responsible authorities, in particular the ESB and the Irish Government to detail concrete plans outlining the future management of the dams, particularly around flood defence." ENDS

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