Minister of State for the Office of Public Works, Kevin "Boxer" Moran, has defended local authority and OPW response times to flooding in the Dáil this week.
Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister what specific new initiatives he has taken to deal with the rainfall levels this summer and their potential impact on the flooding in those communities later this year.
"We had the extraordinary event in Donegal but that is now becoming less extraordinary and more the norm," Deputy Calleary said. "While the response was eventually very comprehensive, it took some time to organise. Will the Minister give a guarantee to communities across the country that, in the event of there being a flooding emergency in their community this winter, the response will be immediate and there will not be delays?"
Minister Moran said he saw first hand the hardship the people in Donegal had to endure because of the recent flooding event there. However, he said that the OPW is dealing with the threat of flooding in every way it can.
"The question the Deputy asked is whether we are dealing with it, and the answer is that, yes, we are," he said. "Since August 24 we did not have one dry day up to the past two fine days. Within the system we have, it is very hard to manage the rainfall but, where we can, we are providing money for flood defences and minor works schemes for those communities. We are working particularly closely with the local authorities. We have not been found wanting."
Minister Moran further defended the response of the local authority and OPW to the flooding in Donegal.
"Five or six years ago the flooding in the River Moy, the River Shannon and across the region was winter flooding," he said. "In recent times, however, we have seen downpours happening and nobody, not even anybody in government, could plan for what may come. However, what we can do is give assurances. We are working with local authorities and delivering for local communities. Through CFRAM and further measures that will be taken, we will deliver on schemes and protect those people.
"The local authority delivered a very fast response in Donegal and the criticism of its response was unfair. I met the first responders on the Tuesday and went with them to everywhere that was flooded. I assure the Deputy that everything that can be done is being done with the local authorities."