Irwin and Anderson to raise concerns

William Irwin (left) and Sydney Anderson keep an eye on rising lough levels

William Irwin (left) and Sydney Anderson keep an eye on rising lough levels

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Newry & Armagh DUP Assemblyman and chairman of Stormont’s Agriculture Committee William Irwin MLA has joined his colleague Upper Bann MLA Sydney Anderson in raising concerns over the impact of the current severe flooding on homes and farmland across the Upper Bann and Newry & Armagh constituencies.

With water levels in Lough Neagh the highest in 30 years, with swathes of farm land across the province affected by the severe flooding, Mr Irwin and Mr Anderson have requested to meet with Rivers Agency senior officials to discuss ongoing concerns.

Mr Irwin stated: “It is certainly a concern to see homes and farmland under water and it brings real misery for people affected. Having your home flooded brings significant upheaval and I know of several homes in my own constituency where flooding has hit and you can understand the frustration and fear of residents when they see the water levels rising and their homes being damaged.

“There is also a concern amongst our farming community with damage to farm land due to the flood water and along with my colleague and fellow ARD Committee member Sydney Anderson MLA, we will be meeting with DARD Rivers Agency officials to discuss the ongoing concerns of local people who have been impacted by the flooding.”

Sydney Anderson MLA stated: “As a representative of Upper Bann, the river Bann runs through the district and Lough Neagh is also within the constituency. We have all seen the levels of the Lough rise significantly in the past few weeks. This has caused a lot of concern and misery for local businesses that have been severely flood damaged and it is a concern that the levels in Lough Neagh are at the highest for some 30 years.

“It is absolutely vital that all agencies with a responsibility for dealing with flooding and its effects are fully aware of the problems that people are facing on the ground and I will be continuing to raise my concerns with organisations such as Rivers Agency to ensure that minds are focused on these matters and improvements that can be made to reduce flooding impacts, are made in a swift manner,” he added.

Mr Irwin concluded: “There is no doubt that the severe flooding has damaged the land in a number of areas and this will be a concern for farmers affected.

“I fully agree with my colleague Sydney Anderson that every effort must be made to assist those in this position. The amount of rain and the sustained heavy downpours has shocked everyone and we can only hope that the wider weather systems affecting Northern Ireland and much of the UK soon settle to allow flood water to recede and a full assessment to take place.”