Bill introduced to protect rights of homeowners in flood affected areas - John Brady TD
Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow John Brady introduced legislation today in the Dáil designed to protect the right of homeowners and businesses in flood affected areas, that have had flood relief work carried out by the Office of Public Works (OPW) in their area.
The Bill aims for homeowners in these areas to be provided with insurance.
Teachta Brady said:
“It was my privilege today to introduce to the Dáil legislation designed to provide for fairness in the insurance market for property insurance for homeowners and businesses.
"The purpose of the legislation is to address a situation where homeowners are being treated in a blatantly unfair manner, which discriminates against property owners in flood affected areas. This is despite the fact that remedial work has been carried out by the OPW to protect these areas against future flooding.
"In my own hometown of Bray, I have met with, talked with, and campaigned alongside a great many of individuals living in flood affected areas.
"There has been a lot of anger, frustration, and despair amongst these groups.
"In 1986 we witnessed the devastation which Hurricane Charley wrought. Wicklow was one of, if not the worst affected county by the storm.
"Hundreds of people were affected by the damage inflicted by the hurricane, alongside dozens of businesses in the community. At the time over 350 jobs were put at risk.
"Driven by desperation, and a fear for the future, local groups campaigned for flood relief works to be carried out. In 2007 following a directive by the EU, the OPW was tasked with carrying out flood relief schemes in affected areas.
"Eventually this would lead to schemes, like the River Dargle Flood Protection Scheme, which was carried out by the OPW to the cost of €46 million, and which was completed in 2017.
"It is important that the work of groups such as SWAP and the community of Little Bray is acknowledged.
"But, despite this investment in flood protection by the taxpayer, insurance firms have failed to provide insurance cover to homeowners in flood affected areas. To me, this is an absolutely unacceptable situation.
"The legislation which I introduced today, which will now go to committee for scrutiny will, if it is passed by the members of the Dáil, put an end to the discriminatory practices of the insurance industry.
"It will offer protection to homeowners and businesses situated in areas that the OPW has designated as having a one in 100-year risk of flooding or less.
“This legislation will also entitle property owners to bring forward complaints to the Financial Services Ombudsman in the event that insurers are attempting to overcharge or if they have been denied premiums.
"Further to this the Central Bank will have the authority to carry out assessments of individual insurers, and the manner in which they deal with applications for insurance from homeowners.
"Without legislation, without the means to compel fair play, the insurance industry will not act.”