30 December 2015
By Bryan T. Smyth
Fianna Fáil’s Margaret Murphy O’Mahony has criticised the Government’s lacklustre response to the latest flooding to hit large parts of West Cork.
Cllr Murphy O’Mahony says that people feel completely let down by the Government as they are forced to fend for themselves against the latest storm.
“Homes and businesses across West Cork have been badly flooded following Storm Frank. Bandon and Skibbereen in particularly have been flooded for the second time in less than a month. People have been trying to get back on their feet after the storms that hit West Cork in early December, but now they have to contend with even more floodwater. It truly is heart-breaking. People feel exhausted by it all, especially as it has hit during the Christmas period,” said Cllr Margaret Murphy O’Mahony.
“However what people feel the most frustrated about is the fact that the Government has been completely invisible over the last few days despite the countless warnings issued by Met Éireann. Why hasn’t the Taoiseach called an emergency cabinet meeting to co-ordinate the response to this latest flooding? People’s lives are being ruined here yet there doesn’t seem to be any urgency from the Government in wanting to deal with this.
“In the medium term the Government needs to ensure that the flood defence schemes needed for Bandon and Skibbereen are fast-tracked. These communities cannot endure any further flooding. The defence schemes need to be put in place in a matter of months and not years. The only way the flooding can be stopped is by constructing proper flood defences.
“The Defence Forces, An Garda Síochána, the Civil Defence and the Fire Brigade have been doing tremendous work to combat the flooding. Local agricultural contractors such as tony O’Mahony, Mark Troy and Michael White have also been working through the night to assist families. However there is only so much they can do in the absence of proper flood defences.
“The Government must recognise that emergency measures are needed in the short-term to help families and businesses rebuild their lives in the hours and days ahead. People need access to humanitarian funding to help repair the damage caused by the storms. The Government should apply to the EU Solidarity Fund to help pay for storm repairs. It’s astonishing that this has not happened yet. Furthermore temporary accommodation needs to be put in place for those who cannot return to their homes in the days ahead due to the flooding.
“It’s time for the Government to get its act together here. The response to the floods earlier in the month was appalling. We cannot have a similar repeat of such a poor response.”