Local politicians respond to a grim weekend

Independent TD Denis Naughten has strongly criticised the Government for failing to provide an adequate response to last weekend’s devastating floods.

  He said that, since the last flood in 2009, many of the promised flood remedial works were postponed pending the completion of consulants’ reports and the CFRAMS flood study.

  He said: “We have also seen delays in getting pumps and sandbags distributed to flood-prone communities due to delays by the national co-ordinating committee in providing appropriate warming to local authorities.”

  Deputy Naughten said that council staff, emergency services, the gardaí, the Army and Civil Defence had done “tremendous work” over the last number of days since the flood water started to rise.

  Yet he added: “Pre-planning would have helped to improve the effectiveness of these responses.”

  Deputy Naughten said that “real action” was needed from the Office of Public Works that would have an impact on the scale and frequency of flooding of communities in local counties.

  He said: “Since the 2009 flooding, I have worked continuously to try to have practical steps taken to address local flooding problems.

  “However, we have been knocked back on many occasions on the basis that we were waiting on the CFRAM modelling.

  “The time for studies is over; we need action immediately.”

  On Wednesday, the Cabinet agreed a €5 million fund for businesses who could not get insurance or who were in flood-risk towns.

  Local Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice welcomed the news.

  “I hope that these funds can be dispersed quickly and that red tape is kept to a minimum,” he said.

  “There are many small business people in this region who have been badly affected by these floods and stock has been destroyed in the run-up to the busiest trading time of the year.”

  However, Claire Kerrane, Sinn Féin’s General Election candidate in Roscommon-Galway, said that she wanted further action.

  “I am now calling on the Government to immediately initiate a full and comprehensive flood management plan, especially for areas where towns and villages are built on or near the banks of rivers,” she said.

  Cllr. Orla Leyden has called on Roscommon County Council to apply for funding from the OPW under the minor flood mitigation works scheme which covers works up to €500,000 to carry out urgent channel maintenance works on the River Jiggy in Roscommon rown in particular in the vicinity of Sleeveen to Ballinagard Road and Sleeveen back to Antogher Road which she feels could address the flooding that occurred on the Golf Links Road.  

  Cllr. Leyden said that the businesses in Roscommon town and Athleague affected by the flooding will need assistance from the national flood emergency fund and from the local authority regarding rates.