Ministers admit €10m flood aid inadequate
Cabinet to meet on plans for emergency humanitarian funding
A man and a child feel the force of a wave on the pier at Bullock Harbour, Co Dublin, yesterday. Photograph: Aidan Tarbett/Provision
The Government has pledged emergency funding to assist communities hit by flooding as latest forecasts indicate more bad weather may cause further damage over the next 24 hours.
The Cabinet is today due to discuss plans for a €10 million emergency humanitarian fund to help those whose homes have been ruined by the flooding.
However, Ministers acknowledge this is unlikely to be enough and have pledged extra money if required.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny last night said the Cabinet will examine the possibility of applying for EU relief funds, but added that flood damage will have to be exceptionally extensive to qualify.
Counties Limerick, Clare, Cork, Waterford, Wexford and Kerry suffered the brunt of the weather, with some areas reporting the worst damage in living memory.
Hundreds of people were forced to leave their homes and the main streets of many towns and villages were left under water.
Travel was also severely disrupted in many parts of the country, with towns such as New Ross in Co Wexford deemed impassable for a time.
Met Éireann has warned that wet and windy weather will continue tonight and tomorrow, leaving many at risk of further flooding.
Cork City Council is warning that high tide this evening could cause even greater damage than yesterday.
There were also concerns for homes along the river Shannon in counties Offaly, Westmeath, Roscommon and Longford.
Minister of State for the Office of Public Works Brian Hayes said a “new defence scheme” will be implemented to upgrade the country’s flood defences.
Speaking in Limerick – one of the worst-affected areas – Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said funding will be made available to families who have been forced to leave their homes.
“We’re not going to leave the public in the lurch . . . If extra money is needed, we will provide it,” he said.
“When we know what the total cost is across the country, we’ll provide the fund.”
Mr Noonan said local authorities will decide on how much funding each will need before a total figure is decided.
“We will proceed on the basis of the local authorities assessing the damage, and putting estimates into the Department of Local Government.”
In the meantime, Mr Hayes said temporary flood defences will be erected in areas such as Limerick where as many as 300 homes were ruine
Angry residents in the St Mary’s Park area rounded on both Ministers when they visited the estate yesterday.