Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD challenges Taoiseach on cuts to flood relief
Sinn Féin’s Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD challenged the Taoiseach today on cuts that the government made this year to the OPW’s flood risk management programme, resulting in a reduction of €15.6 million in flood relief.
Speaking during Leaders’ Questions today, Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:
"Taoiseach, communities in various parts of the state have been devastated in the wake of Storm Desmond with extensive flood damage caused to residential homes and small businesses.
“This includes in my own county of Donegal where communities across the country, particularly in the Finn Valley, have been devastated. Businesses and community centres and homes that had been cleared out in very traumatic circumstances only weeks before, were affected yet again.
“Taoiseach, despite the increased risk and frequency of flooding in recent years, your government has not taken the issue seriously. If you look at the 2016 budget, there’s a 25% cut in relation to the OPW’s flood risk management programme, that’s a reduction of €15.6 million.
“I know that the government’s PR machine has been out talking about €15 million for flood relief but €10 million of this was already there, so it amounts to just €5 million of new money.
“We’ve asked on a number of occasions, Taoiseach, will the government introduce a special state funded package, for householders and businesses in areas of high risk of flooding, but who through no fault of their own, cannot obtain insurance. Will you address that issue?
“And Taoiseach, will you immediately reverse the cut in capital spending for the OPW's Flood Risk Management Programme?
“We must send the message to those citizens affected by the devastation of flooding, that these issues, as best we can, within our powers will be addressed.”