Following on from a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General that found a taskforce appointed to assess flood risks did not meet for six years before last July, the members of the Claremorris Municipal District have called for members of local authorities from the affected areas to be appointed to the taskforce.
Independent councillor Richard Finn told the meeting: "I was amazed and shocked to find out that in relation to flooding all over the country, not just in Mayo, which was very badly affected in south Mayo, that these flood risk management committees didn't meet for four to six years. This was over a period of time that we had the worst weather and flooding in history and I think the councils have taken enough of the brunt of the effects of the flooding over this county for the past number of winters. We as county councils we can only work with the funding we get from central Government, and if the goodwill isn't there to bring these planning and strategic issues to the fore we can't. It was amazing to find that out of the hundreds of flood maps in that length of time that were required only 50 flood maps were put together. The years of delay in flood risk management is down to central Government, it has nothing to do with councils. I can't understand why maps aren't put together. It looks like nobody is interested in this at Government level or higher departments in the Government."
Fianna Fáil councillor Damien Ryan added: "I concur with everything that has been said, there is no point in having committees set up and the local areas that are affected having no voice on them. I think that each local authority should be asked to nominate people to these committees, because we are answerable to the people and we'll make sure there are meetings and there is no delay of four to six years. We're dealing with this on the ground and we know that come next October and November what are we doing about this, and I know everyone at this table is working to advance this, it's a complete shame what has happened. I'm proposing that we write to the incoming Minister and ask that each of the affected counties be asked to nominate someone to these committees that oversee all this work, I think it's critically important that we have representation at this level."
His party colleague Cllr John Caulfield said: "It's an absloute disgrace, you talk about giving more powers to the local authority, we're on the front line, we have no powers whatseover, and for committees to not meet for four to six years, and people are having to abandon their homes for good, some of them." Fine Gael councillor John Cribben said: "I agree with everything that's been said, it beggers belief that these committees haven't met and the amount of flooding we've had to deal with, and the people who have been directly affected have had to deal with, it's not good enough."