CORK COUNTY COUNCIL has defended its response to severe flooding in the county after criticisms from Bishop Paul Colton.
The Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross told the Irish Examiner that there had not been many signs of help from the national co-ordination group in local areas. Colton said that without neighbours helping each other, people would have been homeless and hungry in recent days.
In response, chief executive of the council Tim Lucey said it is “regrettable” that the particular circumstance of one family which was housed temporarily in Midleton College was not made known to the council so it could arrange assistance.
Many families in private housing tend to evacuate themselves without any recourse to the Council. However, where assistance is sought, we make arrangements for alternative accommodation and welfare through our co-ordinated agency response and this occurred in other situations over the past week.
The council detailed the measures it has put in place since the flooding started, including taking 1,773 calls for assistance through the emergency response line and a further 329 calls through the fire service. Over 31,000 sand bags were distributed between 4 December and 5 January and when deemed necessary, the Defence Forces were called into Midleton and Bandon.
“The impacts of these events have been devastating to local communities but could have been far worse in the absence of the interventions made by our staff,” Lucey said.
In relation to the national business compensation scheme, the council said it has provided returns to the Red Cross in respect of commercial premises damage and has achieved a 24 hour turn around in all cases thus avoiding delays in payments to any business. In excess of 50% of claims made nationally thus far are from Cork County.