'While we fought to save homes, these people were tucked up in bed'
Flood victims reacted with incredulity to the revelation that a key government group charged with flood threat assessment did not meet for six years up to 2015.
The inter-departmental group, set up to assess flood risk management, met in July last year for the first time in six years. That was despite warnings after the disastrous 2009 floods, which devastated Cork and Limerick, that further deluges were likely.
A government steering group established after the 2009 floods did not meet for four years.
Owner of the Munster Arms Hotel in Bandon, Co Cork, Don O'Sullivan, said he was shocked by the revelations in the Comptroller & Auditor General's (C&AG) report.
"I find it hard to believe," he said. "Between 2009 and 2015 we suffered three very bad floods here in Bandon. The damage was so severe that a lot of traders weren't sure they would be able to survive."
Mr O'Sullivan said he found it "deeply shocking" that while traders and residents were doing everything possible to protect their livelihoods and their homes, some of the State bodies charged with helping them were not even having meetings.
"While we are out in the early hours of the morning in flood waters . . . battling to save our businesses, these people are in their homes fast asleep in a warm, dry bed."
Last night, TD Brendan Howlin confirmed the River Bandon Flood Relief Scheme would go ahead.