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Flood warning system in the pipeline

THE Office of Public Works is aiming to set up a warning system for potential flooding in the country.

Following on from the devastating rains which destroyed thousands of homes over the winter, the Government body has now put out to tender to develop systems which will "enable timely forecasting and warning of impending flood".

It is hoped that the project will minimise the impacts and damages caused by rain, and applications for tender will be accepted up until March 16.

The Government, local authorities and state institutions drew criticism over the handling of the widespread flooding across the country in November and December.

Businesses and homeowners said they had little warning of the floods which caused thousands of euro in damages.

In Cork, the ESB issued a flood warning in accordance with the Local Authority Emergency Response Plans and began discharging water from its dams, which led to widespread flooding in the city.

However, the ESB spokesman said that it wasn't the ESB's responsibility to inform residents in an emergency situation.

Fine Gael's Phil Hogan criticised the fact that the Government had no flood early warning system in place, despite the severe weather crisis.

Minister of State Martin Mansergh said that the Government is committed to spending money on flood relief schemes. "We spent €23m in 2008, €38m in 2009, and it will be €50m this year," he said.