Wednesday 26 October 2016

Government TDs insist task force 'must be given teeth'

Published 07/01/2016 | 02:30

Clare TD Michael McNamara. Photo: Tom Burke
Clare TD Michael McNamara. Photo: Tom Burke

Government backbenchers have insisted that the planned task force for the River Shannon must be given "real teeth" as they continue to assist constituents whose homes and businesses have been flooded.

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TDs in both Fine Gael and Labour warned that communities were still in a state of despair - more than 30 days after the flooding emergency began.

Other government deputies in Cork said there was deep concern among homeowners who cannot access flood insurance.

The issue of the floods has become a significant election issue in parts of the country.

But TDs whose constituencies are based in the Shannon catchment have expressed scepticism about the announcement of a new task force.

"People are sick of task forces and meeting groups," Labour TD for Clare Michael McNamara told the Irish Independent.

"The reality is we need a single authority or lead agency responsible for what's happening on the Shannon."

Fine Gael TD for Galway East Paul Connaughton said the new agency must be given "real teeth".

He added: "There is a lot of houses in south Galway still flooded and families who are not in a good place at the moment. There is a lot of frustration out there."

Labour TD for Longford/Westmeath Willie Penrose said it was important that the new agency was not one of red tape and bureaucracy.

"This is about the safety of people and their properties. They must be the apex of the solution. All other considerations have to be secondary," Mr Penrose said.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael TDs in Cork South West Jim Daly and Noel Harrington both said families and businesses in Bandon continued to feel anxious.

Mr Daly said without proper flood defences, residents may not be able to avail of insurance for up to two years.

He said he was sceptical of any tangible measures arising from a meeting on Tuesday in Government Buildings.

Mr Harrington said Bandon was effectively "blacklisted" in terms of flood insurance and that was of deep concern. "You would like to think pressure will be put on the insurance industry to move," he added.

Irish Independent

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