A rare species of snail could affect the long-term plan of reopening the Longford branch of the Royal Canal.
The situation was highlighted at the AGM of the Royal Canal Amenity Group in November and Waterways Ireland have confirmed that the canal is one of the last known European habitats of Desmoulin’s whorl snail, and described it as “internationally important”.
“The reason why this species is so rare is that it lives in a habitat that is very unusual, requiring strong tall vegetation in saturated swamp conditions,” a spokesperson for Waterways Ireland said.
To complicate matters further, the spokesperson added that, “It is acknowledged by experts that the maintenance of existing whorl snail habitat is far easier than creating new habitat, due to the very exacting requirements of these wetland snails.”
However, work due to begin on a new path along the canal between Longford and Clondra will not be affected.
“The council carried out an environmental impact assessment and found no habitat on the pathway itself,” Frank Sheridan of Longford County Council assured.