Wednesday 19 June 2019

Welcome for new 'quick' payment flood relief scheme

Cllr John Paul O’Shea (FG)
Cllr John Paul O’Shea (FG)

Bill Browne

The government has rubber stamped a new payment scheme that will see uninsured small businesses and local organisations across north and mid-Cork receive an automatic payment to offset the cost of flood damage.

The Permanent Flood Relief Scheme will allow successful applicants that have heretofore been refused flood insurance to claim a 'quick' payment that will be capped at €5,000. However, should the cap not meet the needs of some applicants, there is scope within the scheme for a further payment of up to €15,000 after a more detailed assessment of the total loss incurred.

The initiative - which was brought before cabinet by Defence Minister Paul Kehoe and the Minister Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys - is designed to give financial aid to small business, voluntary, community and sporting bodies in flood-prone areas. 

In the past, the Department of Defence had operated temporary humanitarian support schemes in conjunction with the Irish Red Cross following incidents of flooding.

Four such schemes, which operate on an ad-hoc basis, have been opened since 2015 to help offset the damage caused by extreme weather events such as Storm Ophelia, which wreaked havoc across parts of Cork last October. 

The introduction of the new scheme has been welcomed by Kanturk/Mallow area county councillor John Paul O'Shea (FG), who said it would target sole traders and small business and voluntary, community and sporting organisations. 

"It will be of great assistance to them in helping to deal with the aftermath of the kind of flood events that we know will become increasingly common into the future," said Cllr O'Shea. 

"The scheme will be demand-led when these groups experience flood damage to their premises and equipment and where they have been refused flood insurance." 

He said the Red Cross would continue to administer applications for flood relief assistance in accordance with a memorandum of understanding with The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. 

"This new scheme will put these supports on a more permanent footing giving assurances to those who need assistance that it will be forthcoming," he said.