Need to address flooding risk in Belfast
South Belfast Sinn Féin representatives Alex Maskey MLA and Cllr Máirtín Ó Muilleoir have called for urgent action to be taken by the Executive to address flooding risk in South Belfast.
"Following a period of heavy rain yesterday we again saw homes being disrupted and damaged due to flooding in parts of South Belfast.
"In the Orchardville, Lille Park and Sicily Park areas of Finaghy families are again dealing with the aftermath of flooding and damage to their property as a result. It is extremely disheartening to witness in some cases the same families whose homes have been flooded over previous years picking up the pieces once again.
"I would firstly like to commend those emergency and statutory services including Belfast City Council who worked urgently and effectively to respond to reports of flooding.
"While no one has control over the weather, quite clearly some of the flooding incidents which we witnessed yesterday were entirely avoidable.
"Furthermore we were given a commitment in 2013 from NIW that a number of precautionary and preparatory measures would be carried out in the event of heavy rain or flood warnings in the most effected areas. These included the clearing of gullies and drains and immediate visits by staff to residents in flooding hotspots to identify homes at high risk of repeated flooding. Regrettably these commitments have not been honoured.
Alex Maskey added:
"Following major flooding in 2012 we held meetings and site visits with the DRD Minister Danny Kennedy, senior NIW officials and DARD Minister Michelle O'Neill over the past few years to ensure that everything that could be done was being done to prevent at least the worst excesses of flooding. We were given commitments about future projects, including the Glenmachan St project, which would alleviate the risks.
"I would call on the Ministers for DRD, DoE and DARD to ensure that all appropriate measures are being taken to help prevent any future flooding, particularly as we head into the winter period."