Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Environment and Local Government Barry Cowen TD has called on the Taoiseach to hold an emergency meeting of the cabinet in light of the serious damage caused by Storm Frank across Ireland.

Deputy Cowen says that many communities feel neglected as serious flooding once again causes significant damage to homes and businesses.

“The scenes that we are witnessing in communities impacted by the latest storm are truly heart-breaking. Many people are experiencing significant flooding for the second time in a matter of weeks. Indeed some communities remain flooded since the previous storms earlier in the month and now they have to contend with even more floodwater,” said Deputy Cowen.

“People feel neglected by the Government. It’s astonishing that the Taoiseach has decided not to interrupt his Christmas holidays in light of the devastation caused by storm Frank. Met Éireann have been warning of the dangers posed by this storm for a number of days now. The Taoiseach needs to get on the ground and see for himself the extensive disruption caused by flooding in areas such as Galway, Clare, Cork and Kilkenny.

“Unfortunately the flooding is likely to escalate in the hours ahead as floodwaters head downstream towards urban areas. A special meeting of the cabinet is necessary to co-ordinate the response to the floods. Local authorities, emergency services, the OPW and voluntary agencies need support from central Government to allow them be best placed to respond to the flooding.

“The Taoiseach also needs to release emergency funding for the families and businesses affected by the flooding. Too many people across the country have reported that they have been unable to access emergency funding to date, despite previous Government commitments that such relief would be provided immediately. It’s simply unacceptable to expect these communities to fend for themselves.

“The possibility of accessing emergency EU funding to help communities overcome the latest flooding must also be examined. All agencies need to work together to limit the damage caused by the floods and ensure people are able to get back on their feet as quickly as possible,” said Deputy Cowen.