Flood relief fund extended to Cork

Wed, Jul 18, 2012, 01:00

THE EXPANSION of a €10 million flood assistance fund has been welcomed by victims of last month’s flooding in Cork, where it is estimated the total cost may reach €100 million.

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton confirmed the humanitarian assistance scheme set up after flooding in Galway in 2009 and Dublin in 2010 would be extended to include victims of flooding in Cork city and county on June 28th.

However, residents in Cork have expressed concern about the ease of accessing the means-tested fund after the Department of Social Protection confirmed just €788,000 of the €10 million fund has been paid to date to those who suffered flood damage in Dublin and Galway.

In Cork city, business owners and residents in both Douglas and Blackpool suffered serious damage to their premises and homes, while householders in Glanmire and Ballyvolane were also flooded, as were business people in Clonakilty, west Cork.

In Glanmire, 49 homes in the Meadowbrook Estate were flooded up to depths of three feet when the Glashaboy river burst its banks. Up to 100 residents from the estate met on Monday night to lobby local TDs and county councillors for assistance.

Meadowbrook Residents Association chairman Jim Healy said that while the extension of he relief fund to include flood victims in Cork was welcome, the fact that just €788,000 had been paid out of the €10 million fund to date highlighted the difficulty in accessing the monies.

He expressed concern flood victims in Meadowbrook and elsewhere in Cork may have difficulty accessing the fund, and said many people were already struggling because of the tardiness of some insurance companies to pay even interim payments.

“I know of some people who have got €8,000-€10,000 interim payments,” Mr Healy added, “but there are other people in the estate where the insurance company is dragging their heels, saying they want to check the original contract, which is not fair on people.”

Meanwhile, Eamon Downey, business development director of insurance assessors Owens McCarthy, said he believed the total bill for damage to both business and residential properties in Cork could reach €80-€100 million.

He said so far its assessors had computed the damage in Douglas, Blackpool, Glanmire, Ballyvolane and Clonakilty as being between €20-€30million, and given its share of the Irish market, it was reasonable to extrapolate the total bill could be €80-€100 million.

According to Mr Downey, one of the hidden costs which would not emerge for some time was the lost profits for commercial enterprises.