The Fianna Fail Junior Spokesperson for the OPW and Flood Relief, Deputy Eugene Murphy has warned that many parts of counties Roscommon and Galway are only seven days rainfall away from another flooding crisis.
Deputy Murphy made the comments during a motion he brought before the Dail last Thursday when he called on the Minister of State for the Office of Public Works, Sean Canney TD to outline what action has been taken to alleviate the ongoing impact of the damage caused by last winter’s floods.
Deputy Murphy said he was “extremely disappointed” by the Minister’s response and he said the Government had shown a “lack of imagination” and was “devoid of any real understanding of the reality of the ongoing situation on the ground.” The Fianna Fail Deputy welcomed the fact however that on foot of his invitation, Minister Canney indicated he would make a visit to the constituency in due course. Deputy Murphy said that many of the OPW’s existing Capital Works Programme, which Minister Canney referred to, where in parts of County Cork and affected areas in County Roscommon seemed to have been largely overlooked.
Speaking in the Dail last week, Deputy Murphy said: “Flooding is still a major issue throughout the western region particularly so in Counties Roscommon and Galway where many homes, businesses and individuals are still bearing the brunt of the devastating consequences of widespread flooding while some areas are still under water.”
Deputy Murphy pointed out that Roscommon County Council require in the region of €11 million to repair the damage caused by flooding to ensure that such devastation does not reoccur throughout the county yet only €4.5 million has been allocated which he said was “wholly inadequate.”
“Roscommon County Council could apply for funding through the Non Coastal Minor Mitigation Measures but this is based on a cost benefit system which means that areas of a greater population density would obviously be favoured as it proves better value for money- for example an application to address flooding issues in an estate of sixteen houses would be favoured above an individual house in a rural area. This obviously has a detrimental effect in my constituency as many rural areas are more sparsely populated and many homes and businesses which were devastated by recent floods are still suffering the consequences and trying to get back on their feet.
“There are a total of 133 different areas throughout County Roscommon which are still affected by flooding and many homeowners and business owners are becoming increasingly frustrated as they are fast becoming a forgotten story. These are the stories behind the headlines where farmers are facing a bleak winter period as their land is too water lodged to make hay or silage this summer, where business owners have water damaged stock, where families are forced to make a ten mile round trip out of their way to bring their children to school or where publicans have been stranded by the rising waters of nearby turloughs,” said Deputy Murphy.
The Fianna Fail Deputy also pointed out that that the allocated funding does not address the issue of flooding in and around turloughs and this is a major issue in the Lough Funshinagh area where 250 acres of land are currently under water.
“Now 250 acres might not seem a large amount of land in other counties but for a County like Roscommon where agriculture is the backbone of the economy and small holdings are quite common this could actually affect a number of farming families where the average farm holding could be between 30 to 40 acres,” said Deputy Murphy.