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Saturday 1 October 2016

Taoiseach: Families may need to move to higher ground or face more flooding

Published 01/01/2016 | 02:30

Taoiseach Enda Kenny visits the home of Gertie Dunning in Carrickobreen in Athlone during the flooding. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Taoiseach Enda Kenny visits the home of Gertie Dunning in Carrickobreen in Athlone during the flooding. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Kevin Moran at the Strand in Athlone

People may need to relocate away from areas that flood on a regular basis, according to Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

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Mr Kenny defended his decision to wait so long before visiting the communities worst affected by flooding.

He also defended the Government's strategy to handle the issue and insisted that their plan is working.

But in a radical proposal he said that a relocation plan may have to be implemented to move people away from areas that flood regularly.

"The question you have to look at, is if it is possible to do minor drainage and minor relief works around some houses that are currently surrounded - or is it not?" he said.

"If it is not, is it a question of a relocation policy, perhaps to higher ground," he added.

"These are things that need to be looked at because you cannot have a situation where people are facing this on an annual basis."

It comes after the Taoiseach visited the worst affected people in Athlone yesterday.

He met with those organising the emergency response there as the Shannon threatened to breach temporary flood defences.

However, he refused to say if the emergency response funds would be topped up.

"The important thing here is that the plan and the strategy that the Government have put in place is working," he said.

"Obviously when a house is flooded or a business is ruined it causes great stress and imposition for people," he added.

"There is a clear plan in place and it is much better coordinated than in previous years."

He added: "The decision by the Government to develop a sophisticated weather forecasting system beyond what we have at the moment would be in everybody's interests," he said.

"Longer term and more accurate forecasting would allow for the ESB to make more controlled movements at Parteen Weir and Ardnacrusha than they can at the moment.

"I think that would be in everybody's interests."

Irish Independent

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