Sunday 21 January 2018

The coalition's 12-point plan for floods

Flood waters in Cahermore near Kinvara Co. Galway. Photo: Andrew Downes
Flood waters in Cahermore near Kinvara Co. Galway. Photo: Andrew Downes Newsdesk Newsdesk

What each of the measures mean

1 Taskforce for the River Shannon

A plethora of agencies, local authorities and state bodies will form this dedicated taskforce to address issues along the River Shannon. The group will meet at least every quarter. But the exact powers and functions of the taskforce will not be known until the terms of reference are published in a fortnight.

2 Flood forecasting unit to be established

The unit, which will be jointly run by Met Éireann and the OPW, is to be used to provide long term weather forecasts for periods in excess of 20 days. An additional 15 staff will be hired, but the unit is unlikely to be in operation for at least two years.

3 hardship recognition scheme for farmers

The full details of this still have to be worked out, however it is understood it would involve cash payments.

4 A fodder replacement scheme

Under the €2m scheme, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said farmers are to be offered support based on the replacement costs of fodder, such as hay, silage, straw and feed, damaged on their farms. Application forms will be available on the department's website from today and from Teagasc offices. The closing date for applications will be Friday, January 22.

5 A €10m top-up to the clean-up fund

The top-up brings the total sum for the clean-up to €18m. As local authorities submit estimates to the Department of Environment, further funding may be approved.

6 'home protection'

Two pilot 'home protection schemes' are set to be rolled out in Crossmolina, Co Mayo and Graiguenamanagh, Co Kilkenny.

These protection schemes will involve flood gates being erected in at-risk areas.

7 red cross scheme

A Red Cross compensation scheme will include sports and community facilities. This €5m scheme will make initial payments of up to €5,000 to businesses. Application forms will be available from today.

8 Family farm homes eligible for Aid scheme

This €10m scheme is means-tested and is aimed at householders whose properties have been affected by flooding. The Government says that it will now be extended to family farm homes - however, it is understood that this has always been the case with the scheme.

9 Road infrastructure report

The Department of Transport is in the process of calculating the cost of flood damage to the country's roads. It is estimated that €60m worth of damage has been incurred. However, there is already a €3bn backlog of repairs needed across the network

10 Meeting with insurance industry

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Environment Minister Alan Kelly and their officials will meet representatives from the insurance industry next Tuesday.

But it remains to be seen whether the insurance industry is willing to introduce any new measures.

11 Meeting with EU Environment Commissioner

Environment Minister Alan Kelly is due to travel to meet the European Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella next week to discuss issues such as dredging. The talks are aimed at providing clarity to the authorities here in relation to works they can carry out and remain in compliance with EU law.

12 Issue of community resilience examined

This scheme is aimed at preparing local people to cope with adverse weather conditions. However, no details have been provided in relation to where the scheme will operate.

Irish Independent

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