Flooding in the midlands

Published: 4 December 1913

Figures have been published today on the extent of the damage caused by floods to land along the Shannon, from Athlone to Shannonbridge, between 1890 and 1913. The cost is estimated to be £35,681. The Assistant County Surveyor of Westmeath, who drafted the report, claims that if drainage was carried out the value of land on the Westmeath side would be about 10s an acre. The same is thought to be the case for lands on the Roscommon side. For the 4,450 acres in question, this would lead to an increase in value amounting to £2,225.

This issue is not limited to the River Shannon. Arthur Griffith's newspaper Sinn Féin, earlier this year, raised concerns about the serious flooding along the River Barrow. In an article from 10 May, it stated that farmers of the midlands have been deceived by John Redmond. The paper claims that in return for accepting the Government's extra taxation in the last budget, Mr Redmond promised the farmers that the Barrow would be drained. Now, not only are the rivers still flooding, but the farmers have 25% more tax to pay.

They write that all farmers have now is ‘the peace of hopeless helpless acceptance of the fact that God sends the rain and the British government in Ireland makes the floods, and that the Irish farmer is born and it is his duty to accept both Providences’.

Mr John Hayden, MP for South Roscommon, and Sir Walter Nugent, MP for South Westmeath, have called for an inquiry into the issue.

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