Hayes asks local authorities to submit appllications for flood aid

Hogan says co-ordinated Government approach to assist local relief effort

People have been advised to stay indoors this afternoon as a severe storm sweeping the county is damaging buildings, blowing down trees and making roads impassable. Video: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision


Local authorities have been asked by Minister of State for the Office of Public Works (OPW) Brian Hayes to submit their applications for financial aid to deal with flood damage as soon as possible.

“I have given a firm commitment that we will prioritise those applications that come from the counties worst affected and we will turn them around within a matter of a week . . . no more than a 10-day period,” he said.

Mr Hayes said the funding given to the local authorities would be used by them in having the necessary work done by their own staff or contractors. He said that under the “minor works and coastal protection scheme”, introduced in 2009, applications for funding could be made up to the value of €500,000.

The Minister of State was speaking during a debate in the Seanad yesterday on the recent flooding. The Dáil also discussed the issue.

Mr Hayes said a €25 million fund now existed for humanitarian aid to help people in the most immediate and long-term way. He added the OPW estimated that, on the basis of reports from local authorities, some €20 million of additional funds would be required to repair flood barriers and pay for capital schemes that might have been breached as a result of the damage caused.

Flood maps
He said that this year there would be detailed maps drawn up setting out the predictability of flood events in each of the six catchment river basins. They would be published during the summer, with a period of consultation, he added.

A submission would be made to the European Commission by December of next year on areas requiring further consideration. Mr Hayes estimated the State had 300 areas prone to significant flood damage.

In the Dáil, Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan said that on foot of conditions yesterday a meeting of the National Co-ordination Group on Severe Weather had been convened at midday. The group would ensure a whole-of-Government approach was in place to support and assist the principal response agencies at local level and speedily bring to bear any national resources needed.

“As always, our principal objective is to keep people safe,” he added. Mr Hogan said the €70 million allocated on Tuesday by the Government for repair and remedial works would enable local authorities help communities in the affected areas.