7 December 2015
By David O’Sullivan
EU aid should be considered to bridge long delay in flood defence systems – says Cllr Margaret Murphy O’Mahony
Fianna Fáil Cork County Cllr Margaret Murphy O’Mahony is calling on the Government to seriously examine new protocols to help businesses and homeowners in flood prone areas to get insurance cover.
Councillor Murphy O’Mahony was speaking after Bandon and Skibbereen flooded again at the weekend while their flood relief systems remain stalled.
The General Election candidate said: “It’s extremely frustrating to see business and homes washed out again. It is heart-breaking for them to have their livelihoods and personal belongings devastated only a number of years after the last major flood. We badly need these flood defence systems in place.
“Ireland was previously able to access money from Europe under the EU Solidarity Fund to pay for storm repairs and I think the Government should be look at this or another source of EU supports to help fast-track the flood defences needed for Bandon in particular and also for Skibbereen.
“Residents have been left waiting too long for these schemes to progress. We have three TDs here propping up the Government and delivering what?
“The Bandon Flood Early Warning System is working very well and gives businesses and homeowners’ time to plan and prepare. But there is no substitute to having a viable, credible flood relief system in place. I don’t think it’s credible or acceptable for residents to be told it will be 2018 before these defences are in place.
“The insurance costs from the 2009 floods ran to €140m. And many businesses and homeowners are counting the cost of Storm Desmond again today. The Bandon flood relief scheme will cost €10m. Why is it not a priority?
“West Cork is simply not on this Government’s radar. That has to change. We need our flood relief systems prioritised and I believe we need new protocols with insurance providers so that businesses and homeowners can get insurance cover. The providers are clearly uneasy about the risk of extending flood cover to certain areas but if the Government and the insurance industry were to engage with the local authority new protocols could be agreed that will help people get appropriate insurance for the future.”