The possibility of a voluntary farmyard relocation scheme is being discussed by the Government’s Interdepartmental Flood Policy Co-ordination Working Group.

The Group is due to report its recommendations to the Government in the coming weeks, according to the Office of Public Works (OPW).

A possible voluntary home relocation scheme is also being discussed by the group, the OPW said.

Speaking in the Dail this week, the Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Sean Canney, said that the group is developing a range of policy initiatives to underpin the overall investment by the OPW in managing national flood risk.

The possible voluntary farmyard relocation scheme is part of a number of prevention and mitigation measures the group is considering for providing flood relief, he said.

Minister Canney said that the Government is doing everything it can to prevent flooding along the Shannon this winter.

Earlier this week, he announced that a decision has been taken by the Shannon Flood Risk State Agency Co-ordination Working Group to trial the lowering of the lake levels in Lough Allen to help mitigate potential flood risk for this winter.

From the analysis completed, this may have a small positive impact on the extent of certain flood events that might occur during a winter.

“This is to be achieved through protocols to be agreed between the OPW, the ESB and Waterways Ireland with input from the relevant Local Authorities.

“The modelling and analysis completed shows that this action can only be done in specified conditions to avoid causing or exacerbating flooding downstream and this trial will need to be carefully monitored.”

Minister Canney said that the group will discuss both this evaluation and progression with the lake levels trial at its next meeting at the end of November.

Welcoming the news to begin a trial to lower the levels of Lough Allen, Chairman of the IFA Flood Project Team, Padraic Joyce said he hoped further measures could be put in place given the heavy rainfall that has taken place.

“It is up to the Government to ensure that the public good overrides all other considerations. The protection of households, farmland and businesses must be to the forefront of all works.

“In addition, the protection of livelihoods must be a key consideration in the CFRAM process.”