Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Arts, Heritage, Sport & Tourism, Sandra McLellan TD has said the current state of emergency requires the government to take immediate action.
Speaking during a Dáil debate on recent flooding, McLellan said:
“The devastating effects of flooding have been reported on our TV screens over the past six weeks. Homes and businesses are being washed away.
“Households struggling to rebuild their lives are being hit with repeated flood warnings and down pours.
“Terms like code orange and code red are becoming everyday phrases.
“It is not acceptable that it has taken six weeks before Minister for Environment, Phil Hogan, came before the Dáil to make a seven minute speech.
“My own home town of Youghal, like so many other coastal towns, has suffered more than its share. In fact it has now been flooded three times in the recent past.
“The government must take immediate action on three levels.
“Firstly the immediate needs of people must be met. Homeowners, businesses and service providers need urgent practical and financial aid from government, outside the terms of their private insurance if they have any, to alleviate the impact on people.
“Next, the government must put in place measures to minimise flooding and flood damage. This will require capital funding to expand and strengthen flood walls and defences. This must be done in consultation with local authorities.
“Meanwhile longer term solutions must be found. It is nothing short of a disgrace that after three years in power you still have not published a Climate Change Bill. Not to take action on climate change is a total abdication of responsibility. The government must publish a climate change bill as a matter of urgency.”