The Irish Government has announced plans to establish a fund to assist businesses and sports clubs affected by recent flooding in East Cork and Waterford. The fund, known as the Flooding Support Scheme, will provide financial assistance to those who were unable to obtain insurance coverage for flood damage. Junior Sports Minister Thomas Byrne made the announcement during a topical issues debate in the Dáil, highlighting the Department of Enterprise’s readiness to activate the scheme. Byrne also expressed a particular interest in examining the case of sports clubs, commending Sarsfields GAA Club for their efforts in preventing further flooding in Glanmire.
The flooding has had a devastating impact on the region, with Sinn Féin TD for East Cork Pat Buckley describing the town of Midleton as “a war zone”. He raised concerns about the availability of funding for those who had previously experienced flooding or did not have insurance. Buckley also questioned whether car insurance would cover the cost of damage to vehicles. Minister Byrne responded by stating that the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management (NDFEM) within the Department of Housing had been working closely with Met Éireann. He explained that an orange weather warning had been issued for Cork on Monday and that the NDFEM, along with a European flash flooding monitoring system, had alerted local authorities. However, the heavy and persistent rainfall resulted in rivers bursting their banks, causing widespread flooding.
Senator Tim Lombard, who is based in Cork, highlighted the need for improved planning applications for flood schemes in light of the recent events. Lombard argued that if flood defence schemes had been implemented in certain communities, many homes and businesses could have been saved from water damage. He criticized the bureaucratic hurdles and delays that often accompany the approval and construction of flood relief schemes, stating that they can take years to complete. Lombard emphasized the urgency of addressing these issues, as the weather and climate do not adhere to bureaucratic processes.
In 2020, TD Pat Buckley had previously raised concerns about the lack of a flood defence scheme in Midleton. He revealed that a CFRAM study conducted in 2013 had identified the problems and proposed solutions to alleviate them. However, the report was shelved, and the necessary works were not carried out. Buckley highlighted the estimated cost of €25,000 to address the flooding issues at the time. When the predicted one-in-100-year flood event occurred, nearly 200 houses were affected.
The establishment of the Flooding Support Scheme by the Irish Government demonstrates their commitment to assisting those affected by the recent flooding in East Cork and Waterford. The fund will provide much-needed financial aid to businesses and sports clubs that were unable to secure insurance coverage for flood damage. The concerns raised by TD Pat Buckley and Senator Tim Lombard regarding the need for improved flood defence schemes and streamlined planning processes highlight the importance of proactive measures to mitigate the impact of future flooding events. It is crucial that the government addresses these issues promptly to protect vulnerable communities from the devastating consequences of flooding.