Cllr Luke 'Ming' Flanagan with Michael Silke of Connacht IFA in the background.
No emergency plan is in place to deal with any potential flooding situation along the Shannon despite the devastation of 2009, it emerged at a meeting called by farmers in Athlone this week.
Junior Minister Ciaran Cannon made the revelation during an address to up 100 farmers on Monday, who called the politicians to the banks of the river to highlight the devastating effects of the recent heavy rain which has left much of their land under water very early in the year.
Having listened to their concerns along with a large number of other politicians from Offaly, Roscommon, East Galway and Westmeath, Minister Cannon told the frustrated crowd that he had asked an engineer in the OPW if there was an emergency plan to deal with uncharacteristic rainfall along the Shannon and he was told there was not.
He pointed out that every local authority has an emergency plan in place to deal with a major accident or incident in their area and this is the minimum needed, and quickly, from the OPW alongside Waterways Ireland, the ESB and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).
"Underpinning the plan, there needs to be legislation to empower the OPW to make decisions on your behalf," he added pledging his commitment to work towards that aim, a vow echoed by the many other Oireachtas members who spoke to the farming representatives with the high levels of the Shannon clearly evident at The Strand.
Joe Parlon from Offaly IFA described as "shocking" the revelation that there is no emergency plan in place to deal with a five-day forecast for heavy rain and the potential for flooding along the river banks. He said there was no common sense being used and the message needs to go back to Brian Hayes in relation to the seriousness of the situation and the need for immediate action.