Tuesday 26 September 2017

20 flood victims get €200,000 each in damage deal to buy new homes

But a further 12 will lose out on new housing under relocation scheme

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Correspondent

AROUND 20 families who were forced out by severe flooding two years ago are in line to get up to €200,000 each to buy new homes.

But a further 12 who were also badly affected by the floods will not get relocation grants because the scheme has been capped by the Government to support up to 20 families.

The group of 32 families were among the worst affected by the floods in November 2009.

While other people were compensated for damage to their property, these families were singled out for relocation to new homes because the risk of their old homes flooding again was considered too great.

There are two other key conditions to qualify -- it has to be too expensive to carry out flood prevention works for the families and they must be unable to secure insurance.

But the 32 families in Galway, Roscommon, Offaly, and Tipperary, are facing an anxious wait before the Department of Social Protection confirms who is receiving the relocation grants from the €4m fund in the coming weeks.

A number of the families have been living in rented accommodation since November 2009.

The overwhelming majority are from Galway (27), with three from Roscommon and one each from Offaly and Tipperary.

The Department of Social Protection has not yet made a decision on how much each family will get but a political source said that relocation grants of up to €200,000 each was the most likely outcome.

Some of the families are thought to have got planning permission from their local authority to build homes on flood plains -- which meant they were unable to secure any flood insurance.

It is not known how many of the families received payouts under flood insurance -- but any money received will be deducted from their relocation grant.

Fine Gael Galway West TD Brian Walsh, who has been in contact with some of the families, said it had been a huge ordeal for them.

"But I am hopeful that there is now light at the end of the tunnel for many of these in the form of the prospect of relocation. There isn't any other option for these people. It's too risky to move back into their homes," he said.

The families will be given funds to buy or build new homes -- depending on their personal circumstances.

But the amount of money they receive will be capped in accordance with an estimate from their local authority about the cost of providing a reasonable home in the area.

The Government has given payments worth €1.65m to 1,310 other people to help them move back into their flood-damaged homes -- an average of €1,200 each. But according to TDs, many people are still finding it impossible to get flood insurance.

Home insurance costs have soared by 60pc in the last 10 years.

Irish Independent

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