Farmers along the Shannon where persistent flooding occurs have become known as "long distance farmers" because they have not been able to reach their land.

The Irish Creamery and Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) is now calling on the government to establish a super authority to deal specifically with drainage along the river Shannon. 

PJ Dodd is what is known in the Shannon region as "a long distance farmer". On a roadside overlooking 100 acres of land, covered by water, the Longford farmer confirmed the affect of the latest bout of flooding. He claims that his land is flooded for six months every year and for this time, there is no way of accessing it. 

According to Met Éireann February 1997 was the wettest month in seven years. Rainfall was twice the normal level for this time in parts of the midlands and the west of Ireland.

The worst of the flooding is reported in a thirty-mile radius of the River Shannon in counties Roscommon, Westmeath and Longford. As farmers calculate the cost of the damage, the ICMSA has called for the setting up of a new authority to take over all responsibility for drainage of the river Shannon. Deputy President of ICMSA Pat O'Rourke tells RTÉ News

This new authority would have full responsibility and be given the adequate resources to deal with the problem.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 3 March 1997. The reporter is Ciaran Mullooly.