Flooding report rejected over ‘inadequate’ recommendations

Review of policy will not be discussed until autumn due to intervention by Minister

Minister of State at the OPW Sean Canney indicated the report on flooding was not an adequate response to the challenges faced by threatened communities. Photograph: PA

Minister of State at the OPW Sean Canney indicated the report on flooding was not an adequate response to the challenges faced by threatened communities. Photograph: PA

 

An official report dealing with flooding is to be reworked after the Minister in charge said it was not an adequate response to the challenges faced by threatened communities.

The Irish Times understands Minister of State at the Office of Public Works Sean Canney has strongly criticised the report.

The review of the Government’s policies on flooding was due to be considered by the Cabinet last week but discussion was put off until the autumn. Mr Canney is understood to have received the report two weeks ago but has ordered his officials to redo it because he believed its recommendations were inadequate.

A number of Government departments including Social Protection, Defence, Finance, Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Agriculture were asked to make submissions.

‘History lesson’

A Government source said Mr Canney, an Independent Alliance TD for Galway East, had held a series of meetings with officials to set about rectifying problems he has identified.

“Only one Government department involved returned with recommendations. The rest of them merely reported what they were doing and announced reviews into certain things and the monitoring of others,” the source said.

“It was seen as more of a history lesson than anything else. It did not offer any path forward and it seemed some departments only replied because they had to.

“It was due to be considered by the Cabinet at its last meeting but it was severely lacking. That frustration has gone all the way to the Taoiseach who had expected it would be ready before the summer recess.”

Mr Canney is understood to have met officials again late last week to detail his frustrations .

The review, which was initiated by former minister of state Simon Harris, is intended to direct Government policy. The inter-departmental group was tasked with examining all areas of the Government’s response to flooding, including insurance, home relocation, flood relief and property rights.

Meetings

The delay in the report means it will not be considered by the Cabinet until September at the earliest.

A number of areas are suffering the effects of the bad weather including Mayo and Roscommon. Mr Canney has held a series of meetings with people in affected areas and has urged residents to be patient.

He told householders in Mayo recently that he was committed to taking action in the area but said it would take time to complete.

Many places, particularly in the midlands, were badly hit by flooding last winter,with householders in parts of Athlone affected for an extended period. As well as damaging private homes, the floods affected roads and farmland.