Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North Central Billy Kelleher is calling on the City Council to step up work on flood prevention measures in Blackpool. The city is waiting for a €50 million flood defence system to be constructed, but work is not due to start until the end of next year.
“Residents in Blackpool have had to deal with the effects of severe flooding every winter over the past few years. Promises were made to put a proper flood defence system in place, but very little has happened. There have been various meetings between locals and the City Council but residents are angry that very little work has been carried out. Many of those living in the village are older people who find it especially difficult to prepare their homes for bad weather. They’re unable to carry sandbags or flood sacks and have to rely on their neighbours or adult children to help them out”, commented Deputy Kelleher.
“Businesses have been unable to get insurance because of the flood risk and business owners are worried and frustrated over the fact that no work has been carried out. The City Council was meant to remove rubbish, debris and trash screens from the river and the culverts, but that work hasn’t begun.
“It’s unacceptable that more than two months after the most recent floods residents in Blackpool are still suffering. It’s also unbelievable to think that just over €200,000 has been paid out of the Government’s Humanitarian Assistance Scheme this year. By the end of February only 5 payments had been made to people in Cork, totalling €1,700. The Department of Social Protection has a budget of €25 million to compensate people whose homes were damaged by the floods, however many people remain unaware of the scheme. Minister Burton needs to do more to ensure that those entitled to the funding apply for it.
“The flood defences being planned by Cork City Council will take three years to complete, but the residents in Blackpool need to have a system in place sooner than that. Cork City Council needs to stop dragging its feet, and apply to the Government for funding to fast-track the programme, and at least relieve some of the problem that has built up since the severe flooding earlier this year.