Thursday 27 July 2017

Kenny under fire over flood crisis

Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photo: Reuters/Eric Vidal
Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photo: Reuters/Eric Vidal

Greg Harkin

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is under fire from flood victims for failing to show leadership amid the latest weather crisis hitting the country.

The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) said the Taoiseach's failure to be seen out meeting flood victims across the country is in stark contrast to his British counterpart David Cameron.

The Taoiseach's spokesman said Mr Kenny had, in fact, visited flood victims in Co Mayo in recent days.

But IFA Connacht regional chairman Tom Turley said last night that people whose land and homes were flooded feel let down by the Taoiseach.

"We're told he was in Crossmolina in Co Mayo," said Mr Turley, whose own lands near Eyrecourt, Co Galway, have been flooded.

"I have been out every day with rural communities and all I'm hearing from people is compliments towards Mr Cameron on his visit to the people in York and then the same people asking 'where's our Taoiseach'."

He said Mr Kenny's position could also be contrasted with some of his ministers.

"Simon Coveney has been out and we're told he'll be about again next week, and OPW minister Simon Harris has also been out. But the leader of our country has been seen nowhere near any community along the Shannon which is the epicentre of this disaster.

"Previous leaders of our country did go out when we were flooded before - including Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen - but this Taoiseach hasn't been out with his people. Whether we like it or not, he's our leader."

He said the time had "long since past" for the appointment of a Floods Minister similar to the position in the UK. "We need a single authority, a single master with responsibility for dealing with this. I'm not a climatologist but these are no longer 'once in a century' events."

Irish Independent

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