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This is how the government is responding to the flooding

Environment Minister Alan Kelly said local authorities have been provided with all the resources they requested.

Updated 7.47pm 

ALAN KELLY HAS mounted a robust defence of the government’s response to the flooding crisis as ministers agreed extra funding for relief efforts this evening.

The Environment Minister was speaking as the cabinet agreed to provide an additional €10 million to local authorities for the cost of clean-up efforts.

The funding is in addition to the €8 million already provided for local authorities, which they have yet to drawn down in full.

The final cost of repairing roads damaged by the floods is expected to reach the tens of millions of euro. A government spokesperson said that all the damaged roads will be fixed.

The government has also agreed to extend a €5 million Irish Red Cross compensation scheme for business to community and sports centres that were impacted by the flooding.

alan-kelly-13 Alan Kelly Source: RollingNews.ie

Earlier, Kelly told RTÉ’s Six One News that it’s likely more money will be needed to fund clean-up efforts in the coming weeks.

The Labour deputy leader also defended the government’s response to the flooding having faced severe criticism from affected locals and opposition politicians in recent days.

Kelly said this had been “the greatest response we’ve ever seen” after record rainfall in December. He praised the “trojan” work of local authority staff and communities across the country, and added:

When every local authority required assistance they got it. Every single thing they asked for, they got it.

Kelly insisted that the government had made decisions today which in the long-term will protect people, including establishing dedicated climate change units within local authorities.

A flood forecasting and warning service, operated by Met Éireann and overseen by the Office of Public Works, will be established in the coming months.

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach said on Twitter that he will meet with insurance companies next Tuesday to discuss the issue of cover for businesses that are prone to flooding:

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A government spokesperson said this evening the purpose of the meeting with insurance companies is to “hold their feet to the fire a bit”. But they would not be drawn on what outcome the Taoiseach expects from it.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Drivetime, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said he expects the meeting to be a “blunt conversation”.

In relation to his own brief Coveney is expected to announce a relief scheme for farmers in the coming days as well as a fodder relief scheme where farmers are paid the market rate for fodder destroyed by the floods.

The expected establishment of a Shannon coordination group – a permanent designated taskforce to deal with flooding in the region – was welcomed by Gerry Adams this evening, but he said it didn’t go far enough.

“The news that they are now to establish a taskforce is to be welcomed but it does not go far enough,” the Sinn Féin leader said.

“Sinn Féin believes a Shannon River Authority is needed to ensure that there is proper co-ordination and a robust response from the various agencies responsible and to take the necessary steps to minimise the risk of flooding in the future.”

Weather warnings: Another rainfall alert – and motorists urged to beware of black ice

Read: Cork council hits back at Bishop’s criticisms of floods response

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Hugh O'Connell

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