Mayo Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary says owners of homes and businesses which were devastated by Storm Desmond last year are extremely worried about repeat flooding this year. Despite a raft of promises, no flood defence schemes have been progressed in the county, and home and business owners are seriously concerned that their premises could be put at risk.
Deputy Calleary commented: “It’s now one year on since Storm Desmond hit and those worst hit are still reeling from the fallout. These homeowners, through no fault of their own, are being refused insurance cover and will now be fully liable for any potential damage. This is a deeply unfair situation and must be addressed as a matter of urgency.
“The Government announced a relocation scheme for homeowners affected by flooding, however there was no real detail contained in the plan. The OPW has completed 37 major flood defence schemes, but none of these are in Mayo. €480 million has been allocated to new projects to be undertaken between now and 2021 and it is imperative that flood defences for Mayo are progressed.
“This week Fianna Fáil has brought forward a Bill designed to address the unwillingness of many insurance providers to offer insurance. It is the latest step in a suite of measures that my party has been working on to protect flood victims.
“If the Flood Insurance Bill 2016 is passed by the Oireachtas, insurance providers will not be allowed to deny insurance cover to homes and businesses in areas that have undergone flood defence works and that meet the standard one in 100 year flood risk rating. These flood risk ratings will be determined by the Office of Public Works.
“In addition, the Flood Insurance Bill provides a mechanism for home and business owners who feel they have been unreasonably denied cover to appeal to the Financial Services Ombudsman. People living in areas with a low risk of flooding or where flood defence works have been carried out by the State should not have to worry about getting insurance.
“This Bill will protect home and business owners that have seen relief works carried out on their towns and villages. The Government must ensure that Mayo is not left behind and allocate money for flood defence schemes in the areas that were so badly affected by Storm Desmond. These projects are essential to protect communities from the extensive damage that was caused last winter.”