We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

A new built home damaged by a suspected tornado in Co Wexford last week.

Government called on to extend support scheme to Wexford communities hit by suspected tornado

A local councillor said the suspected tornado was like a scene from ‘Twister’ or ‘The Wizard of Oz’.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS been called on the extend an emergency humanitarian support scheme to rural Co Wexford communities hit by a suspected tornado.

Last week, a local famer told South East Radio that a “path of destruction” was caused in parts of the Foulksmills and Clongeen area of Wexford due to what looked like a tornado.

Alan O’Reilly of Carlow Weather told The Journal that while tornadoes are “usually small scale events in Ireland and short lived”, they can “produce severe impacts in small areas”.

Meanwhile, TORRO (The Tornado and Storm Research Organisation) had issued a warning for “isolated tornadoes” over Ireland and parts of Britain on the day in question.

In the Dáil yesterday, Wexford TD Johnny Mythen called on the Taoiseach to “replicate the special emergency humanitarian support scheme”.

It was recently opened by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar to support businesses and organisations that were affected by recent flooding events in New Ross and Tullow but unable to secure flood insurance.

The total level of support available is capped at €20,000.

“Clongeen and Foulkesmill are left with a trail of devastation following a mini tornado that struck those areas last week,” said Deputy Mythen.

“One man had almost completed the building of his new home only to find it flattened, with no possibility of a claim, but thank God there was no injury or loss of life.

“I ask the Taoiseach for some flexibility and to provide emergency humanitarian support for these two rural communities, which have suffered from this freak act of nature, as existing schemes mostly only cover flood damage.”

Meanwhile, Wexford Senator Malcolm Byrne also called for support for the two south Wexford communities.

Speaking in the Seanad, he said: “I saw the impact of what was a mini tornado.

“Parts of buildings were demolished, roofs were taken off and damage was done to concrete in a number of houses.

“Unfortunately we will see more of these extreme weather events and it is important that the exceptional weather payments would be open to those homes and businesses that are impacted.

“Rather than it being done on an ad hoc basis, we will need a clear programme on how to respond to the rising number of these climate-caused weather events,” said Byrne.

Speaking today at the launch of the ‘Be Winter Ready’ campaign, Minister for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief Patrick O’Donovan said that the “government responds to weather events on a case by case basis”.

He added that this is done in collaboration with colleagues in the Department of Social protection and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

O’Donovan said: “It there are households directly affected and they’re not insured, community welfare officers are there to help.

“Similarly, for the uninsured businesses in areas that can’t get insurance, the Department of Enterprise has a schemes there.

“The Department of Social Protection is still working with people in Gorey, New Ross and the Clongeen area and that will continue.

Minister O’Donovan encouraged people who “don’t have or can’t access insurance and have been by adverse weather to make themselves known to the community welfare officers who will assist them”.

Elsewhere, local councillor Lisa McDonald told The Journal that the schemes in place “aren’t fit for purpose” and expressed concern that something of “this nature and this type of destruction could happen again” locally.

She called on the government “to extend the schemes and to show some flexibility in relation to the type of loss”.

Councillor McDonald added: “The damage was extensive and ridiculous, it was like a scene from ‘Twister’ or ‘The Wizard of Oz’, it was really surreal.”

McDonald, who is also chair of the Wexford Local Community Development Committee, said any extension of the scheme should “have less red tape and be more user friendly.

“Nobody is saying that there should be blank cheque written for anybody,” said McDonald, “but these types of extreme weather events are going to continue to occur and we do need to be in a position to deal with them.

“Schemes that are devised to assist people when extreme weather events happen, they need to be general, so it shouldn’t really matter if it’s Cloongeen or Clontarf.

“It should be that the same scheme that is out there to assist all and that we’re not waiting on ministers to open schemes after an event such as this.”

She added that both the Rosslea and New Ross districts are “working really hard to help people to move the debris and should be in a position to assist further in the coming days”.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel