Insurance rises likely for flood-risk ground
Thousands of rural families are facing insurance hikes and increased planning obstacles as the Office of Public Works (OPW) finalises its flood risk assessment maps.
The designation of tens of thousands of acres of land that make up the flood plains of the national river network is in the process of being completed.
The fear is that the flood-risk assessment maps will be used by local authorities to refuse planning applications and by insurance companies to refuse cover.
East Limerick farmer and councillor Noel Gleeson has warned that rural families with lands designated as flood plain "won't know what hit them" when they are refused planning, have to incur significant additional expenditure on an assessment report for a planning application or are refused insurance cover.
Information on the lands designated as flood plain is available to the public on the OPW internet site for each region of the country.
OPW officials are to visit each local authority area over the coming months to discuss the map outline before its final completion in 2013.
The OPW estimates that flooding causes around €75m worth of damage each year.