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Dublin: 12 °C Monday 20 May, 2019
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Taoiseach says that emergency funding could be used to tackle flood damage

People affected by flooding may be eligible for financial assistance from the Department of Social Protection’s Humanitarian Assistance Scheme.

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has broached the possibility that emergency funding could be used to help with the flood clean-up effort.

Speaking in Dublin this afternoon, he said: “Let me empathise with householders and business people who have had flooding occur on their premises, from Castlefinn down to Bandon, over the last weekend.”

Clearly a month’s rain in two days is something that we’re not used to in Ireland and November being a very wet month with the ground being saturated to a great extent has exacerbated this problem.

The Taoiseach and Simon Harris, Minister of State with a special responsibility for the Office of Public Works, were briefed on the situation by Seán Hogan, chair of the National Emergency Co-ordination group, earlier.

Kenny said that he has also met with the chairman of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht, who had collected reports of flooding from around the country.

“We’ll collate all those reports today and the cabinet will discuss in  the morning the question of the possibility of emergency funding being made available here,” he went on.

Remedial work has already taken place in Clonmel, Fermoy, Mallow and Ennis.

Who is this emergency funding needed for?

The Taoiseach’s announcement follows the commencement of a major clean up operation across the country.

The damage caused by Storm Desmond is expected to run into millions of euro, with the towns of Tralee, Kenmare, Skibbereen and Bandon some of the worst affected.

Heavy rain in the Cork town of Bandon caused water to reach levels of more than three metres at times.

This was met with criticism from local businesses, due to a failure to progress a flood defence scheme that was planned by the Office of Public Works following similar damage in 2009.

‘Devastated and frustrated’ 

Earlier, the Irish Farmers Association called for a “clear government response” to the flooding.

28/10/2015 Online Tax Calculator for Budget 2016. File photo of Kenny and Harris Source: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has been visiting some affected areas in Cork today, including Bandon.

A spokesperson for Harris said the junior minister intends to visit some of the affected areas in the coming weeks, but his primary concern is helping to coordinate the immediate government response.

They added that Harris is “devastated and frustrated at the level of flooding”, but wanted to thank the emergency services, local authority staff and volunteers who helped people and businesses affected.

The spokesperson noted that there were 7,000 members of the emergency services and local authorities on call over the weekend.

Coveney and Harris will update the cabinet on the situation tomorrow.

People affected by the flooding may be eligible to receive financial assistance from the Department of Social Protection’s Humanitarian Assistance Scheme.

Flood warnings

Limerick City and County Council has said it has been informed by the ESB of plans for “further significant releases of water” from Parteen Weir.

The council said the volume of water planned for release is at a level which is likely to cause flooding of roads and could also potentially affect property in flood-prone locations. The areas most at risk of experiencing flooding are Montpelier, Castleconnell and the Mountshannon Road, Lisnagry.

Clare County Council has also warned that flooding could occur along the River Shannon.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland earlier, local business owners explained that they had been unable obtain flood insurance after the last incident.

Fine Gael TD for Cork South-West Jim Daly, who also had property damaged in the flooding, was also on the programme.

He said that he had already spoken to Harris and was planning to discuss compensation for business owners with the Taoiseach.

That is my responsibility as a representative of the people in this town. It is to ensure that I get the funding from central government. And that is my job from tomorrow morning.

He said that around 30 businesses had been badly damaged by the weather and the aim was to get compensation in place before Christmas.

Responding to criticism of the sub-standard flood defence scheme, Tim Lucey, the chief executive of Cork County Council, said:

Cork County Council has treated the progression of flood defences as a priority across the county working in tandem with the lead agency nationally for development of flood defence works, the Office of Public Works, to advance Flood Relief schemes particularly for Schemes in Bandon and Skibbereen.

He went on to say that contractors are expected to start on flood relief schemes by next year.

Additional reporting from Rónán Duffy and Órla Ryan

First published 9.10am 

Read: Another weather warning just kicked in – and the forecast is dire

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