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In a pivotal meeting held today in Limerick, chaired by Lord Monteagle, Mr Blood-Smyth brought to attention a significant development regarding the utilization of the River Shannon for a water electric power scheme. The proposal, still in its preliminary stages, involves the erection of electric works near Limerick City, marking a potentially transformative venture for the region.

Mr Blood-Smyth revealed that a team of engineers had been engaged for two months to conduct inspections of the river and formulate plans for the ambitious project. The scheme, if realised, could have profound implications for the communities along the Shannon.

The Chairman sought clarification on the nature of the endeavour, querying whether it was to be undertaken by a new company. Mr Shod-Smyth confirmed this, detailing that a syndicate led by Lemke had taken the reins. Notably, the syndicate had self-financed the venture, eschewing any public appeals for capital.

However, despite the absence of public funding, the project would still require parliamentary approval. Mr Blood-Smyth elabourated on the proposed plans, highlighting the intention to construct a tunnel at the end of Lough Derg, with powerhouses slated for Clonlara—a concept reminiscent of previous schemes.

The ramifications of such a venture were not lost on the attendees, with concerns raised about its impact on the Shannon’s flow, particularly between Limerick and Killaloe. Mr Blood-Smyth underscored the necessity of a significant water flow for generating the required horsepower, emphasising the potential disruption to the river’s ecology and navigation.

Recollections were shared regarding previous attempts to harness the Shannon’s power, with mention of past projects being stymied by concerns over navigation. The minimum flow of water was a key point of contention, with assurances sought that the Board of Works would safeguard it.

The gravity of the situation prompted unanimous agreement on the need for proactive engagement. It was decided to promptly inform the Secretary to alert Parliament and to communicate with relevant authorities, including the Board of Works and the Department of Agriculture.

The deliberations underscored the delicate balance between harnessing the Shannon’s potential for sustainable energy and preserving its ecological integrity. As discussions progress, stakeholders will undoubtedly grapple with finding a solution that optimises the river’s resources while mitigating adverse impacts.

The proposed scheme represents a significant chapter in the ongoing saga of the Shannon’s utilisation—a narrative shaped by competing interests, environmental considerations, and the quest for progress. Its outcome will not only impact the immediate stakeholders but also resonate far beyond the banks of Ireland’s longest river.

Evening Irish Times – Thursday 21 October 1915

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