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Call for single statutory body to manage River Shannon - Maurice Quinlivan TD

13 December, 2016 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and representative for Limerick city Maurice Quinlivan TD has called for a single statutory body to take responsibility for the administration and management of the River Shannon. Speaking during debate in the Dáil on flooding Deputy Quinlivan said:

“As we discuss this issue this evening families across the country are still struggling to recover from the devastation caused by flooding.

“Households and businesses remain unable able to access flood insurance while others have not received any compensation. The government’s response to flooding has been chaotic and its plans for flood defences woefully inadequate.  

"If insurance companies are not prepared to provide cover then the government has a responsibility to fill the gap and support families and businesses.

"With regard to the structural and administrative issues around the effective management of water levels along the River Shannon I agree with the call for the removal of statutory impediments to allow for the proper regulation of water levels.

"Right now there are too many public bodies and authorities in charge of the river which has resulted in a chaotic situation, particularly in times of emergency.

"For example, 2014 saw a massive flood which destroyed homes in the Kings Island area of Limerick.

"It is also the first anniversary of the flood in Richmond Park, Corbally and memories are still fresh of the uncertainty over who was responsible for what.

"In that particular instance a gate needed to be opened and no-one seemed to know who was in charge and bizarrely, who had the key to the canal lock.

"Clearly the 1934 legislation giving the ESB the right to set river levels is outdated and no longer fit for purpose.

"Two percent of the country’s power is now generated by the Ardnacrusha Dam at the same time as mass urbanization of the countryside has become the norm.

"Ninety-two years on it is long past time that we introduced legislation fit for purpose in modern Ireland.

"The aim must be to protect the river as an important natural resource, while at the same time utilizing its power and energy in a way that protects the environment, its hinterland, and the homes and the livelihoods of the people living in its proximity."

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