The issue of flooding of the Shannon Callows stretches back to the early 19th century, as Gearoid O'Brien once outlined in a series of his Athlone Miscellany columns in this newspaper.
But just because flooding is taken as a likely occurrence in this region doesn't mean that it cannot be tackled.
Indeed, the very fact that the area is prone to flooding should, instead, lead to greater efforts to reduce the likelihood of flooding.
Instead, it appears as if, despite the dramatic floods of November 2009, no lessons have been learned. And summer flooding is now an increasing phenomenon. There may well be global climatic factors behind the increase in summer flooding - but again that is not to excuse the powers that be from at least attempting to mitigate its worst effects.
Raising the issue in the Dáil, Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen, whose constituency of Laois/Offaly includes vast swathes of the Shannon Callows, pointed out that despite Met Éireann issuing a weather alert of severe rainfall and floods in the week beginning Monday, June 11, it was not until Saturday that the sluice gates at Lusmagh and Meelick were opened.
He claimed there was no specific protocol in place to oblige the ESB, Waterways Ireland and the OPW to open the sluice gates despite the issuing of the severe weather warnings.
"Why must we wait for the damage to be done before acting in this regard. It seems unbelievable that in this day and age such a catastrophe could be allowed to happen, considering the warnings that were put in place."
Back in 2004, the OPW was made the lead authority for flood risk management and in 2010, the then Minister of State at the Dept. of Finance with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works, Martin Mansergh, transposed the EU Floods Directive into Irish law, designating the OPW as the lead authority.
Despite this, the current Minister with responsibility for the OPW, Brian Hayes, bluntly admitted in the Dáil in late June the OPW had "no direct responsibility" for the operational control of water flows and levels on the Shannon, which was instead a matter for both Waterways Ireland the ESB.
He admitted this made little sense.
"I will examine this issue closely as to whether or not statutory responsibility should reside within our Department. It is precious little help .... if we are the lead agency but cannot set water levels across the Shannon, which is currently the statutory position."
Whilst the Minister's frankness is to be admired, it's time he grasped responsibility for the matter.
Back in May 2011, at a meeting with local farmers in Nicky McFadden's office, he said that he was astounded by the level of bureaucracy that had been put in place for the management of the River Shannon.
He's no longer in opposition. It's time to make decisions - not simply express surprise at the current situation.
The Connacht IFA Vice President Michael Silke hit the nail on the head, when before an Oireachtas Committee in 2010, he said: "I have only one interest in having one agency, namely, that we give one agency the power to do what needs to be done. There is no point in telling the OPW it is the lead agency and then tying its hands behind its back. Unless legislation is put in place and the Houses take the issue by the scruff of the neck we will be flooded again as badly as we were last year. The groups concerned will do everything they can not to allow the situation to be as bad as last year, but summer flooding and serious flooding will continue. Our livelihoods are at risk and are going down the Swanee. It is as simple as that. We want one agency with statutory powers. The legislation must change."