Catchment News

Athlone Bypass Canal: water quality, history and biodiversity

| in News, Stories

On Wednesday 23 September 2020, In the Shamrock Lodge Hotel The Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO) partnered with the Athlone Bypass Canal Heritage Committee in hosting their third “Athlone Canal & Water Quality Awareness Event”.

The themes were water quality and the promotion of the natural, built and cultural heritage of the Athlone Canal.

Numbers were limited to comply with Covid 19 protocols, however the event was streamed very successfully to National and Secondary schools in the Athlone area and the general public via the Athlone Canal Heritage Facebook page.

  • Basil Mannion Community Water Officer for Offaly/Westmeath/Laois with LAWPRO gave an insight into how water quality affects fish, animal and plant life and the very important relationship water quality has with communities in general
  • Gearoid O’ Brien local author and historian enlightened the viewers on the history of our 263 year old canal
  • Brian Caffrey Birdwatch Ireland gave a presentation on river and canal birds and their habitats highlighting the serious decline in bird species
  • Billy Flynn ecologist of Flynn Furney Environmental and respected Tidy Towns adjudicator discussed the aquatic ecology of the canal, the need for community involvement and reiterating the concerns of species/biodiversity decline

Athlone Canal Heritage Committee would like to thank Basil Mannion and LAWPRO for their continued support of these events. We thank our speakers for their informative presentations and all who attended and joined us online. Thanks to Paddy and Alan McCaul in helping make this event possible and to Infinity Multimedia and Events for their technical expertise.

Watch video:

Who is involved?

Quite simply, everyone in Ireland has a role to play. This can be from something as simple as making sure you don’t pollute your local stream, or a local community working together to establish a Rivers Trust to enhance the rivers and lakes in their area, to a Government Department or Agency helping a Minister implement a new policy to help protect and enhance all our water bodies.

This website has been developed and is maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency, and is a collaboration between the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Local Authority Waters Programme.


Local Authority Waters Programme

The Local Authority Waters Programme coordinates the efforts of local authorities and other public bodies in the implementation of the River Basin Management Plan, and supports local community and stakeholder involvement in managing our natural waters, for everyone’s benefit.


Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA is responsible for coordinating the monitoring, assessment and reporting on the status of our 4,842 water bodies, looking at trends and changes, determining which waterbodies are at risk and what could be causing this, and drafting environmental objectives for each.


Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage

The Department is responsible for making sure that the right policies, regulations and resources are in place to implement the Water Framework Directive, and developing a River Basin Management Plan and Programme of Measures to protect and restore our waters.