Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on the OPW & Flood Relief Eugene Murphy says the Government is putting communities across the country at risk because of its failure to progress essential flood relief plans. Thousands of families saw their homes, businesses and farms devastated by the storms during the winter of 2015/16 and despite promises from then OPW Minister Simon Harris and current Minister Seán Canney, many communities are still waiting on action to be taken.
Deputy Murphy commented, “There are families in my own county of Roscommon, as well as Galway, Clare Offaly and Leitrim who have contacted me to express their concern about the lack of Government action being taken in relation to flooding. These are families who saw their livelihoods almost swept away and who are living in fear of a repeat of the heavy rain and flooding which was witnessed two years ago. Just because we had a mild winter this year, it has not alleviated the concerns of these rural residents. In fact they’re calling on the Government to use this opportunity to ensure that these works are carried out.
“The Government is not serious about resolving the flooding issue. In fact, maintenance work hasn’t even begun on the Shannon. This is one of the major initiatives that needs to be carried out as a matter of priority, and despite the allocations of funds for projects, work has been slow to begin.
“The Office of Public Works is now warning that the State will face a massive bill unless these projects are progressed. With more than 300 towns and cities deemed at risk, the Government needs to realise the gravity of the situation and take urgent action to address it. We are facing the very real prospect of some homes, lands and businesses being washed away in the next big flood. Sitting back and waiting is not an option – we need the Government to follow through on its promises and begin these essential flood works”.