Floods are an inevitable part of life in Ireland, but the frequency and intensity of flooding has greatly changed, causing significant impact on communities and farmland. The task of managing flooding is enormous and further exacerbated by climate change. Green Party Senator Róisín Garvey is today (19th October), introducing a Private Members’ Motion on flooding to the Seanad, which will recommend a multi-faceted, catchment-based response to flood management while maintaining a multi-annual investment programme managed between the OPW and the local authorities.
Senator Garvey stated;
“I’m raising this motion because of what I’ve seen happening first-hand in my own county of Clare over the last few years and across the rest of Ireland. The climate has changed and so has our rain fall in both frequency and ferocity. I am deeply worried about what lies ahead if we don’t take action. International best practice demonstrates that catchment-based solutions, using a combination of natural flood management approaches and hard engineering, are the best way forward and cost less than using only hard engineering solutions.”
The motion calls for planting ‘protection forests’ along rivers and lakes to manage flooding risks and a land use review of farmland, forests and peatlands.
Senator Pippa Hackett, Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity said;
“I welcome my colleague Senator Garvey’s motion on flooding. The incidence and severity of flooding is already affecting us with a changing climate. It puts our towns and our farmlands under water. How we adapt to climate change will play a significant role in the wellbeing of so many of our citizens. A land-use review is underway, and this should help inform us how best to mitigate flooding – not just in urban settings, but across farmlands.”
The motion also seeks progress on a national policy on coastal erosion and flooding.
Senator Pauline O’Reilly stated;
“Ireland will see more hard storms, rather than more soft days. This means we need to prepare our coastal roads and paths. We should no longer build along much of our coastline. Where we used to build houses, it will now be more appropriate to put greenways and blueways.
“We need to prepare for the worst and aim for the best. Bringing down emissions across the globe will help, but there is no doubt that some of the impacts of climate change are irreversible. Flooding and storms are a reality.”
In addition, the motion recommends the development of a revised and strengthened River Basin Management Plan for 2022, which is currently open for public consultation.
Senator Vincent P. Martin added;
“The time is now to adopt a multi-faceted approach to the increasing issue of flooding in Ireland. We are a small island on the cold face of the Atlantic and changing weather systems. It is not a problem that is going away and one we must face head on in order to protect our communities, farmland and nature.”
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