The Government has agreed the administrative arrangements for a once-off targeted Voluntary Homeowner Relocation Scheme.
The scheme is targeted at homeowners whose homes flooded between December 4, 2015, and January 13, 2016, to an extent that they were left uninhabitable, and whose homes are at significant risk from flooding again and cannot be protected through any flood protection or mitigation measures. Homes in turlough areas that flooded after these dates will also be considered.
Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief, Seán Canney, has advised that identifying homeowners under the scheme involves a two-stage process. Stage one includes the OPW working with the Local Authorities, using their extensive local knowledge in relation to the homes that flooded, their future risk of flooding, and the possible measures that could be taken to protect them.
Those homeowners who are identified at this first stage will be contacted by the OPW for a meeting to provide them with detailed information on the scheme. At or shortly after that meeting, they may be invited to apply to be considered under stage two, a more detailed assessment of each individual home to see if an offer to assist with relocation is warranted.
When the number of homeowners who volunteer for this scheme is known, the full budget above the €2m allocated to the scheme this year will form part of the normal budgetary process.
Homeowners whose primary home flooded in winter 2015/2016 and who would like to register their interest in the Scheme can do so by contacting the OPW before July 28.
Minister Canney said: “The announcement of this scheme is further evidence of the Government’s commitment to rural communities and progress towards the OPW commitments within the Action Plan for Rural Development”.
The Minister added that the OPW is soon to prepare proposals as to how the Government can provide assistance through Individual Property Protection measures for people whose homes are not being targeted under this scheme.
The Minister also advised that the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has indicated that the recommended administrative arrangements for this scheme will help it to fully identify farmyard buildings to be evaluated to inform any future once-off targeted scheme for Voluntary Farm Building Relocation.