Rainfall washes part of weir away

PART of the Banoge Weir in Donaghcloney has been washed away due to heavy rainfall.

Thursday, 19th January 2012, 9:13 am

The persistent wet weather led to a rise in water levels and the weir succumbed to the elements last week.

Gary Houston of Iveagh Angling Club said: “It was in a bad state of repair. We knew it was only a matter of time before something like this happened. It’s likely the rest of it could be washed away as more floods are expected.”

He added: “In terms of fishing it’s fine for us. It means the fish can get further up the river. But as far as I know the intention is to put a hydro (electrical generator) on the river so a weir is needed to do that. What we’re hoping for is a new weir with a proper fish pass. That way everyone’s happy.”

Gary is seeking a meeting with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, the Rivers Agency and DCAL to ensure the proposals for the future of the weir meet the needs of all the river users.

Gary said: “I met with the owner of the structure and agreed to contact the agencies involved and set up a meeting to discuss the development.

“I have contacted DCAL, NIEA and Rivers Agency who as stakeholders will all need to be involved in the management response.

“There has been no response from any agency which is unsurprising,”

Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson has been in contact with Mr Houston to offer her assistance following the damage to the weir.

Commenting, she said “I agree with Gary in his call for a multi-agency response to this issue to ensure that the solution meets everyone’s needs. I will therefore be getting in contact with the Rivers Agency, the Environment Agency and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and suggesting that they work together.

“In the first instance investigations must be carried out as to the extent of the damage to the weir and the potential for future washing away if we were to see further outbreaks of heavy rain. The agencies must then co-ordinate their efforts to ensure that the best solution is then put in place.”