Tuesday, 15 December 2015
The Taoiseach has said it is not possible to set up a single authority with responsibility for the management of the River Shannon. Surely, that is what we are here for. We are paid to enact legislation in that regard if it is the right way forward. It is possible if there is the political. The problem is that successive Governments, rather than being proactive or strategic, have been reactive.
The Taoiseach has mentioned that a €10 million humanitarian fund and another emergency fund of €5 million have been provided. However, as a result of cuts to the OPW's flood risk management programme, flood relief has been reduced by €15.6 million, which means what the Government is giving by way of the funds mentioned amounts to only €6,000. As a result of climate change, extreme weather events will get worse. Events which may have occurred only every 30 or 40 years will now happen every five years. The Government needs to face up to this and plan for it in a strategic way. Many of us have seen first-hand the serious problems with which people have to deal. God help those who year-in, year-out have had to bail out water from their homes, cannot get insurance and whose possessions have been destroyed as they face into Christmas.
In February 2014 I visited Limerick after a severe flooding event, following which I raised these same issues with the Taoiseach.