Saturday 24 March 2018

Government hears angry calls to speed up response to flooding crisis

Enda Kenny. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Enda Kenny. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
John Downing

John Downing

More details about the coordinating body for the River Shannon will be published next week, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.

The Government is to set up the Shannon River Basin Management Co-ordination Group in response to the recent flooding, but Mr Kenny told the Dáil he will not back moves by Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin to set up a single authority to control the Shannon from its source to the sea.

"I consider we can have a much more effective management action strategy in the meantime, dealing with the agencies who will know their responsibility and know who is supposed to carry out particular works," said the Taoiseach at the start of a long debate on the floods on the Dáil's first session since December 17.

Mr Kenny had earlier told Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin that a "multi-faceted" response was needed to deal with the floods. This included flood plains and works that could be carried out under the flexibility of the EU habitats and water directives.

Mr Martin said many people were angry about the lack of preparation for the storms. He said the Dáil should be debating measures to improve preparedness, including legislation for a single agency for the Shannon region.

The Fianna Fáil leader said there had been no discussion until Tuesday of this week about insurance cover for homes at risk from flooding.

He said flood response plans had not been updated since 2007 and there was an underspend of €34m on flood defences over the past two years.

Mr Kenny praised the response of local communities and said local councils, Civil Defence and the Army had done everything they could.

Irish Independent

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