Dáil debates

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

2:25 pm

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

Feicim go bhfuil slaghdán air agus caithfidh sé an dochtúir a fheiceáil go gasta. On Friday, I visited Carrick-on-Shannon in County Leitrim and Cortober in County Roscommon to witness the devastating effects of the Shannon floods on homes and businesses. I met with representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, local hoteliers, shopkeepers, publicans, householders and visited a number of local businesses. I commend all of those people, including the local council, who made a huge effort to put up sand bag defences and other preventative measures. One man whose business, the cineplex, has been closed as a result of the floods pays €23,500 yearly in rates and provides much needed local jobs. He cannot obtain flood insurance, neither can other business, many of which are also closed. I met with residents from St. Patrick's Park who are penned in by flood water.

The people I met are deeply upset by the lack of strategic planning by the Government on a problem which they say is entirely predictable and preventable. Some of the issues raised with me include the urgent need to fast-track the catchment flood risk assessment and management programme. The need for consultation with local people who have knowledge and expertise of flood patterns is a critical and often neglected part of this. They raised the abolition of the regional drainage boards which means the responsibility for cleaning Shannon tributaries is now left to underfunded local councils, which has resulted in an absence of sustainable draining systems. Despite various appeals, the Government has refused to allocate funds for land drainage schemes in the Shannon regions which should include the utilisation of callow and natural floodplains. No single agency is responsible for the management of the River Shannon. Will the Taoiseach give full responsibility to the OPW for management of the Shannon? Will he establish a State-funded insurance scheme for households and businesses that are affected by flooding and cannot get flood insurance, which they have not been able to get for some time?


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