ESB carries out emergency work on banks of Shannon


EAST GALWAY:THE ESB was yesterday engaged in emergency work on the western banks of the Shannon north of Portumna, in east Galway, in a bid to prevent the river flooding callows from which it was diverted in 1927.

As a large volume of water moved downstream threatening a number of bridges and the levees at Meelick, Whitesford and Boullagh north of Portumna in east Galway, emergency crews placed sandbags and reinforcements against the banks which were holding the river about two metres above local farmland.

Local authority staff also expressed concern for the levees which prevent large volumes of water from diverting through fields and ultimately into Portumna.

An ESB spokesman insisted the banks were stable and added the crews were “pumping water out and conducting repair works”.

The company, which has managed water levels since the construction of the Ardnacrusha hydroelectric scheme in 1927, said its planned water release at the Parteen weir would reduce levels in Lough Derg and would have “the upstream effect of reducing pressure and relieving this situation”. However, hundreds of boat owners along the Shannon were also engaged in urgent efforts to untie boats which had been fastened to quay walls, many of which were now several feet under water.

Engineers were also assessing integrity of bridges at Portumna, and on the river Suck in Ballinasloe while a number of locks and weirs at Athlone and Meelick were overrun by the flow.