Fianna Fáil bye-election candidate for Carlow – Kilkenny Bobby Aylward has criticised the Government for allowing a situation develop where households and small businesses have been paying over the odds for flood insurance since 2012.
Mr Aylward made the comments after receiving information that shows the OPW failed to pass on up to date flood risk information to Insurance Ireland, the body tasked with representing the insurance market.
Speaking following the revelation Mr Aylward commented, “The OPW is responsible for the development of flood defence schemes across the country after Fianna Fáil initiated the programme while in Government. In 2012 the OPW oversaw the completion of the flood defence scheme in Carlow. However it has come to my attention that the OPW failed to inform insurance Ireland of the reduced risk of flooding in Carlow following the completion of the flood defence scheme.
“As a result of this many households and businesses in Carlow have been paying over the odds for their flood insurance over the last three years. In some cases this amounts to thousands of euro. Households and businesses are already under financial pressure. The last thing they need is to be over-paying for their insurance cover.
“The OPW is tasked with ensuring that up to date flood risk information is relayed to Insurance Ireland, the body tasked with representing the insurance industry. This clearly did not happen when the flood defence scheme was completed in Carlow in 2012. In fact the information was not relayed to Insurance Ireland until January of this year.
“The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin is responsible for overseeing the OPW. He has questions to answer as to why this major breakdown in communication occurred. The Government needs to investigate this issue without delay and find out what went wrong, and to ensure it does not happen again.
“The Government must also engage with the OPW and Insurance Ireland to secure a reduction in premiums in the years ahead for the affected households and businesses. This is only fair considering they have been paying over the odds for insurance cover for the last number of years” said Mr Aylward.