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Government announces extra €10m for flooding response and River Shannon Co-ordination Group to be established


The Government today, 5th January 2016, made a series of decisions designed to alleviate the difficulties of those subjected to flooding in their homes and businesses.

Those decisions include funding for :
1. a hardship recognition scheme for farmers
2. a fodder replacement scheme
3. a clean-up fund has been increased by a further €10m, in addition to the €8m already committed

Other decisions include :
· Establishment of a River Shannon Co-ordination Group
· Red Cross compensation scheme to be extended to include sporting facilities
· OPW to oversee two individual pilot " home protection schemes "
· Department of Transport to bring road infrastructure damage report to Government, with funding to be supplied in due course
· Farm family homes to be eligible under the Humanitarian Aid scheme
· Department of the Environment and OPW to meet with EU Environment Commissioner
· Taoiseach and relevant Ministers to meet with Insurance Industry representatives next week
· New Flood Forecasting Unit to be established

Today the Taoiseach also chaired a meeting of the Agencies who have a role in the management of the River Shannon and decided that a co-ordination group - the Shannon Catchment Flood Risk Implementation and Co-Ordination Group - will be established to oversee the implementation of the flood management infrastructure and to enhance ongoing co-operation across all of the Agencies involved. The Office of Public Works will present the draft Terms of Reference of this Group within the next two weeks.

The Taoiseach said " We are experiencing the worst ever period of winter weather, including six storms and record levels of rain falling over the last month, I have seen at first hand the devastation caused by the flooding and the Government is today providing extra funding to assist in the response to, and the clean up required, as a result of the flooding. The Government also wants to thank all of the emergency services personnel, Local Authority workers and all the volunteers who have been working on a 24/7 basis to help respond to these extreme weather events. "

The Tanaiste, Ms Joan Burton said: “I wish to emphasise that the Department of Social Protection has a humanitarian assistance scheme in place to help households affected by flooding. Our community welfare officers are on the ground in affected communities across the country to ensure immediate payments for people who require emergency financial support. These emergency payments cover essential clothing, food, and other urgent needs. The scheme will also provide for the replacement of white goods, furniture and other essential household items once houses have dried out, as well as longer-term financial support if structural works such as plastering, rewiring or relaying of floors is required.”
Minister for the Environment Mr Alan Kelly said “The decisions taken at Cabinet today are designed to help and give relief to people in the short term, but also provide protection to communities in the long-term. We have a legacy of bad planning and a changing climate that leaves many communities vulnerable to extreme weather events like we have had. This December saw the highest ever rainfall levels on record, and we are likely to experience these events more frequently in the future. There are local and national actions to be taken in both the long and short-term and it will require Government combining the knowledge of both qualified experts and local communities to make towns and communities more flood resilient. The CFRAMS plans will be published in summer and we are committed to having a national adaptation plan to climate change in the long-run under the terms of the Climate and Low-Carbon Development Bill."

OPW Minister Simon Harris said "my Office, the OPW, plays the lead role in the implementation of major capital plans for flood defence works, through interagency dealings with local authorities together with the lead role on the management of flood risk through the CFRAM programme. The decisions made by Government today will further enhance these roles and my office will continue to deliver on the urgent tasks on hand."