Wednesday 18 July 2018

Varadkar outlines the first steps in the Government's response to the north-west floods

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Reuters
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Reuters
Aerial view of flooding in Donegal

Sasha Brady

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has outlined the first steps in the Government's response to the flooding in the north-west.

Speaking today, Mr Varadkar said he was "shocked by the extent of damage" the flash flood has brought to the region and extended sympathies to all affected.

He announced that the Department of Social Protection has activated the Humanitarian Assistance Programme to provide financial relief.

The scheme will allow people in the region to purchase personal items such as clothes and food.

People can also apply for grants towards the replacement of white goods, furniture and home repairs.

Mr Varadkar said the Humanitarian Assistance Programme has a fund of €10m "but it is not capped".

He advised that community officers are on the ground providing assistance to people and letting them know what they are entitled to.

People can also can also called into the intro centre and consult welfare.ie for more information.

Mr Varadkar said that repairs are currently underway on bridges and roads damaged by the flash flood but additional funding is required.

He said: "It will be necessary to provide additional funding to carry out further roadworks, bridge repairs and also flood relief works into the future.

"Once that's properly surveyed and costed we will able to allocate the additional money that's needed."

It's now estimated that 200 homes have been affected by the flooding.

The Inishowen peninsula has been the worst ravaged when almost 10 centimetres of rain fell in the space of a few hours.

Mr Varadkar said there will be an inter-agency meeting on Friday morning to "coordinate a national response to this very serious problem".

Kevin 'Boxer' Moran, minister with responsibility for floods and Transport Minister Shane Ross visited Donegal last night to see first hand the damage caused.

Mr Moran told the Irish Independent he will not allow people to suffer.

"It's emergency work and we have to find money no matter what happens," he said.

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