What does our River Suir mean to you?
An exciting new initiative focusing on the River Suir and reconnecting communities living close by will take place at four locations during the last two weeks of July at 7pm.
They are -
Community House, Newcastle – Tuesday, 19th July
Anner Hotel, Thurles – Thursday, 21st July
Cahir House Hotel, Cahir – Tuesday 26th July
Fethard Convent Community Hall – Wednesday 27th July
A new Local Authority Waters and Communities Office based in Clonmel has been set up to promote the better use and management of our natural waters.
It is organising these public evening meeting along the River Suir to get the conversation going on what people want for our River Suir, our local communities and hopefully develop a vision for the future for our river.
The connection of rivers, their catchments and people can be seen everywhere in Ireland from Clonmacnoise on the Shannon to Cahir Castle on the River Suir.
Discrete communities evolved in some areas with their own language and traditions.
On the River Suir the built heritage, historic weirs, navigation towpaths, angling pools and boating traditions illustrate how important the river has been over the centuries.
And today this importance continues in the form of angling, tourism, kayaking and other recreational pursuits.
The importance of a plentiful supply of clean water is self explanatory whether it is for drinking, provisioning for livestock or for bathing.
It is well known that the River Suir holds the Irish record for a salmon caught on rod and line weighing in at a massive 57 lb. More over the river is also an internationally important brown trout fishery and is recognised internationally for its habitats supporting a range of rare mammals, fish, birds and invertebrates.
The evening meetings have been organised to compliment the OPW CFRAM Flood Risk Management public consultation days which are being held to get the public views on potential flood management options being considered for areas at risk of flooding.
The LA Waters and Communities River Suir meetings will be held immediately after the OPW Public Consultation meetings with the aim of exploring how we see the river in our local area, what we want from it and how we might best manage it for everyone's best interest.
The evening meetings will explore peoples' views and what ideas people might have for the River Suir in their area and what we can do collectively to improve it and the local area.
Themes that will be examined include recreational use, where we can improve on water quality if necessary and how that might be done.
A big focus will be on potential funding including the new LEADER programme and how communities might be able to access such funding.
A spokesperson said - “But really we want to open up the discussion and get the conversation going. In time the aim would be for groups to collaborate at the wider catchment level and by networking really develop the rivers potential for all of us to enjoy and benefit from.
“We will be encouraging partnerships with the Local Authority, industry and other agencies to work together to sort out problems that might be affecting the river.
“This has been done very successfully elsewhere (for example on the River Blackwater) where river habitat was improved by better land management, industry and water treatment plant management. With improved river management came better angling and tourism”.
An exciting twist will be that on one of the information evenings, held in Cahir Library on Tuesday, July 26th University College Dublin will be on hand to facilitate a workshop on the Ecosystem Services that the River Suir provides.
“For this meeting we especially encourage people who don't consider themselves normal users of the river to attend together with those who consider themselves active river users”, the spokesperson added.
“We would encourage everyone with an interest in the Suir, its tributaries and their local area to attend, whether they are involved in angling, tidy towns, farming, forestry or just an interest in making thing better.
“It's about collaboration and finding out where we can all work better together for a better future for the river and our children. We hope that it will be an enjoyable evening and refreshments will be provided.
Dr Fran Igoe, Regional Co-ordinator, who has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in river based projects and his colleagues will be there to help develop a shared vision and provide practical advice based on past experiences.
For more information contact the office at 0761 06 5262.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org . Website: www.watersandcommunities.ie
We can only do this together.