Dáil debates

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Topical Issue Debate

Flood Prevention Measures

6:05 pm

Photo of Michael McCarthyMichael McCarthy (Cork South West, Labour) | Oireachtas source

At the weekend Bandon and, to a lesser extent, many other towns throughout the country suffered enormous flooding. There is an element of having been there and done that. This happened in Bandon in 2009 when there was great devastation. Since that flood we had the usual political responses one would expect. As well-meaning as they may have been at the time, solutions did not come in time to prevent the current deluge.

There are a number of issues. One is the legal action that was threatened in the case of Bandon, a point made by the Minister of State during the week. The second is the configuration of the schemes. As Deputy Daly quite rightly pointed out, that does not matter at this stage because if schemes start in the new year, which it is to be hoped they will, they will still take two years to complete. One is left wondering what will happen in the meantime. We need to consider the configuration of the schemes that have allowed for incessant delays not just in Bandon, but also in Skibbereen. Another issue in Bandon is the fact that the drainage scheme came to an abrupt halt. In the meantime, a couple of issues can be examined, namely, what Cork County Council and Irish Water can do in terms of resources and measures that can be put in place to alleviate the consequences of flooding until the new schemes are up and running.

I welcome some other measures. The response of the emergency services has been outstanding. The response from the Government is encouraging. We are always trying to beat the clock in regard to these issues. We need to consider what we can do to assist devastated communities in light of what has happened, apart from the schemes announced by the Government, the Minister of State's Department and the Department of Social Protection. We also need to consider giving businesses a break in terms of rates between now and when towns are sufficiently able to recover economically from the devastation caused.


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