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EU Habitats Directive- Signed Into Law By Higgins Partly To Blame For Flooding

By January 7, 2016No Comments

The visit of the President Michael D Higgins to inspect flood damage in South Galway today (Monday) will generate much publicity and fanfare in the media but it must be remembered that President Higgins, when he was a minister in the Government, signed the EU habitats directive into law in 1997. It is that very directive that is preventing a lot of badly needed dredging and drainage work on rivers and streams around the country that would have prevented the very floods that he will be inspecting today.
One solution that would prevent a lot of flooding in areas all around the country would be to dredge and clean up rivers and streams and ditches. However the habitats directive which was signed into law by Michael D Higgins in 1997 prevents a lot of that work going ahead. and that should be remembered today.
I have visited the affected areas in South Count Galway in recent days along with MEP Luke Ming Flanagan, and local people, who know what would solve the problem say that three or four small schemes on the Dunkerrin River would alleviate a lot of the problems. However red tape and beaurocracy from the likes of An Bord Planala, and backed up by this EU directive is preventing this work taking place. Instead of consoling flood victims today it would be more important if President Higgins called for these directives to be set aside to speed up the work that is urgently needed to be done to solve these problems into the future.