Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Flood Relief, Eugene Murphy, has given a cautious welcome to the recommendations of a new report, published by the Office of Public Works, to relocate families living in flood-prone areas.
The plan, which was approved by Cabinet this week, will see homeowners offered compensation to help them move, if they choose to do so.
Deputy Murphy says people in Roscommon, Galway, Longford, and Westmeath feel extremely let down by this Government, and this plan, while a step in the right direction, simply does not go far enough.
“The main thrust of this scheme is a voluntary relocation programme for families living in flood-prone areas,” he said. “I have been working with these families for almost a year at this stage and the fact of the matter is that many of them do not want to leave their homes.
“This Government needs to start focusing its flood relief efforts on prevention and protection measures, rather than seeking out quick-fix approaches. This plan will cost €5m. That is nowhere near what is required to effectively deal with the problem. In the Fianna Fáil manifesto, we pledged an additional €50m for flood defence capital investment, bringing the total spending between 2016-2021 to over €450m.”
Deputy Murphy is critical of Minster for State Sean Canney for his response to the issue: “What is most disappointing is the fact that Minister Canney represents one of the worst flood-affected regions but has completely failed to get a grip on the situation,” he said. “Relocation should not be the only option available to these families. We need concrete measures to alleviate the pressure on areas which are repeatedly affected by flooding.
“Fianna Fáil has already published two Bills, the Shannon River Agency Bill 2015 and the Electricity Supply (Management of the River Shannon ) Bill 2016, and is bringing forward legislation to introduce a UK-style flood insurance fund to help flood victims. It is measures like these, and not token gestures, that are needed to effectively deal with this important issue.”