Sunday 11 December 2016

Alan Kelly says current flooding 'worst that has ever been seen'

Published 12/12/2015 | 12:36

Alan Kelly
Alan Kelly

ENVIRONMENT Minister Alan Kelly has said the floods wreaking havoc across the country are the worst that have ever been seen.

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Mr Kelly said the Government will “escalate” all efforts to protect as many homes as possible as the country braces itself for more rainfall in the coming days.

“It’s really about scale here, it’s just the volume. Last Friday, night was the worst rainfall I have ever seen in my life. It was incredible and last night was pretty poor and it really takes a few days for the Shannon to soak up all that water,” Mr Kelly said.

The minister said he will bring a memo to Cabinet next week which will seek to address the infrastructure issues causing devastating flooding in many communities along the River Shannon.

During a wide-ranging interview with Marian Finucane on RTE Radio One, Mr Kelly also denied there was clash of personalities between himself and Tanaiste Joan Burton.

He praised Ms Burton’s incredible life story” and challenged Ms Finuncane to name those who claim he has a frosty relationship with the Tanaiste.

“Personalities are different and I don’t think it would be in the best interests of the Labour Party if we were the same,” he added.

He said “in times to come” he would like to be leader of the Labour Party but said he does not intend on dethroning Ms Burton.

“I don’t do blood on the floor, if it is something that will be it will be,” he said.

He also defended his “straight talking” style of politics saying he is not “comfortable talking in generalisations or beating around the bush”.

Mr Kelly said “politics is a drug” and during his career he has seen good days and “very difficult” days.

He rounded “anonymous keyboard warriors” who have used social media to attack him and his family.

“Social media is a fantastic medium but it is also a dangerous medium. Some people think they can say whatever they want on social media and it can be incredibly hurtful,” he said.

Mr Kelly said it would be a “generalisation” to say he blames former Environment Minister Phil Hogan for the chaos surrounding establishment of Irish Water, but said the scale of setting up the State utility company was “not communicated properly”.

“We needed to prepare people better for what was coming for this project. We needed to analyse and show the facts of what was facing the country and I don’t think that was done at the best of our ability and I say that as junior minister at the time,” he said.

On the issue of homelessness, Mr Kelly said he does not want anyone sleeping rough this Christmas and insisted if a homeless person “want a bed its there for them”.

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