Thursday 27 October 2016

Farmers not expected to get emergency flood compensation – Taoiseach

Red Cross-led scheme not likely to extend to farms

John Downing Political Correspondent

Published 15/12/2015 | 16:34

A farmhouse and building surrounded by water in Montpelier, Co Limerick
A farmhouse and building surrounded by water in Montpelier, Co Limerick

FLOOD-stricken farmers are not expected to qualify for emergency flood compensation scheme, the Taoiseach has said.

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Mr Kenny said being the business scheme administered by the Red Cross is designed to promptly pay up to €5,000 before Christmas with minimum documentation required. This will be followed by an extra €15,000 in the ensuing weeks provided receipts and other documents are produced.

But replying to Dáil questions from Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice, Mr Kenny did not hold out much hope for flood stricken farmers benefitting from this scheme. The Taoiseach said those qualifying had to be within “flood risk areas;” had to be flooded between December 4 and 17; be unable to get flood insurance; and have their claim vetted by a local council engineer.

Mr Kenny said most of the flooded farmland was outside the “flood risk areas” and he did not see them being able to benefit from the scheme, given to the Red Cross to avoid problems about State funding of business.

The Taoiseach advised that in such cases farmers should look to local authorities or the Environment Department to see if redress was possible. He also held out little hope that people seeking funding to repair sceptic tanks could be helped in this way.

Mr Kenny also gave his strongest signal so far that he will not introduce State-backed flood insurance for stricken householders and business left without insurance.  He said a scheme in Britain was very restrictive and he also signalled that such State schemes would involve a levy for others buying house insurance.

“I want to say there will be no further insurance levies,” Mr Kenny said.

 The Taoiseach told Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams, it was easy to talk of 17 different authorities responsible administration of the Shannon River - and the need for just one authority.  Mr Kenny said in practice this meant the risk of long litigation between various public agencies, some of which were older than the State itself.

Mr Kenny said €5m was available in emergency aid via the Red Cross and €10m for clean-ups by local authorities. He added that the Office of Public Works was working on 300 flood protection projects, 66 of which were on the Shannon, and some €10bn would be invested in the coming decade.

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