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Victims face fight to win payout from floods fund

FEARS are growing about State compensation to Dublin flood victims because of very strict means tests.

A €10m fund announced by the Government to assist victims of flash floods in the city on October 24 may not be spent in full due to tough assessment measures.

It has emerged a similar €10m fund was set up by the Government following floods around the country in November 2009, but only €1.6m of that fund was paid out amid a backdrop of severe eligibility criteria and bureaucratic rules.

Now there are deepening worries that Dublin's victims may face similar hurdles.



Overhaul

The Society of St Vincent de Paul has appealed to the Government for a major overhaul of the means-testing procedures to make access to compensation less difficult.

Following the 2009 floods, the average payments were not much more than €1,000 to families and households.

The top three counties to receive compensation payments were Galway -- €474,000; Cork -- €411,051; and Clare -- €331,399.

The Department of Social Protection stated the payouts were based on the applications that were made. There was no plan to change the method of payouts for Dublin flood victims.

The flash floods last month that hit Dublin and Wicklow, claiming two lives, were among the worst to hit the region.

Householders who suffered damage to their homes and contents can apply for assistance and will undergo a means tests.

The Department told the Herald it was not possible yet to say how many applications had been made as they were being lodged through community officers.

Social Protection Minister Joan Burton said: "I am conscious that for some families it could be weeks, if not months, before the damage to their homes is fully apparent.

"I would like to reassure families that this humanitarian assistance scheme will be there for them in the months ahead."

aokeeffe@herald.ie


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