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Sunday 4 December 2016

Homeowners protected by flood wall still can't get insurance

Published 11/04/2016 | 02:30

Flooding at the Cathedral in Ballinasloe last December Photo: Steve Humphreys
Flooding at the Cathedral in Ballinasloe last December Photo: Steve Humphreys

More than half the homes which were saved from flooding by a flood wall are still unable to get full insurance for their properties.

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The flood wall was erected in Ballinasloe, Co Galway at a cost of €1.6m, after 130 homes in the area were flooded in 2009. This saved every single home from damage during the recent floods in December and January.

Nevertheless, 60pc of residents in the Derrymullen area are still unable to secure flood cover from their insurance companies.

Mike Tully, chairman of Flood Alleviation Ballinasloe, said the survey results showed that householders were still being penalised, despite significant state works to protect the properties.

"We received about 70 responses and of these only 40pc stated that they had flood cover. That leaves 60pc of these homes still left without the proper cover, despite all the works carried out by the OPW," said Mr Tully.

He said insurance companies did not seem to be taking the flood-alleviation measures into account in the area.

"The insurance companies do not seem to acknowledge that the work has been done. The State has done all it can to help these families by building the wall and they have been very co-operative, but the insurance companies are not following suit," he added.

Prior to the erection of the wall in 2011, homes in the area had been repeatedly flooded.

"A lot of these homes were flooded three times in the last decade. They were hit in 1995, again in 2005-2006 and finally in 2009.

"Now they finally have some protection but this hasn't been reflected in their insurance policies," he added.

Mr Tully said that the survey also highlighted that a number of people in the area who had never claimed for flood damage had also lost their flood cover.

In December, Minister of State Simon Harris was briefed on the project and has instructed the OPW to liaise with locals on plans to extend the wall.

More recently, Flood Alleviation Ballinasloe has applied for €500,000 funding under the minor works scheme to extend the wall to station road.

This would protect a further 34 homes.

Irish Independent

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