Minister Kevin “Boxer” Moran T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Flood Relief is visiting Donegal today to see at first hand the effects of yesterday’s extreme weather event.
The Minister said, “I and the Government wish to convey our deepest sympathy to all those who have been affected by the impact of the flooding across the Inishowen Peninsula. I know the effects of flooding on my own town and can fully empathise with everyone affected by this event. Over the course of tonight and tomorrow I will be visiting some of the worst affected areas and will be meeting with the families, businesses and communities in these areas. I will also be meeting with officials from Donegal County Council with a view to addressing as fast as possible the devastation that has been caused by this extreme weather event”.
Last night’s flood events in Donegal and surrounding counties was an extreme event. Reports identify that 63% of August’s average rainfall fell within nine hours. The Minister thanked and complimented Donegal County Council and the emergency services on their great work and tremendous response and assistance to communities and individuals last night.
The Minister went on to say, “I will do all in my power to assist the households, businesses and communities affected by the flooding last night. I am in contact with my Ministerial colleagues to ensure that every possible assistance is available to persons affected by the event and to ensure that damaged road and bridge infrastructures are addressed as soon as possible. My colleagues Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and Joe McHugh, Government Chief Whip and Minister of State at the Department of Culture with responsibility for Gaeilge, Gaeltacht and the Islands are with me tonight in Donegal and together we will see at first hand the effects of the flooding”.
The Minister also advised householders affected by the floods to contact their local Department of Social Protection Intreo Centre for assistance.
The affected area of Donegal is a part of the OPW’s national Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management Programme which is nearing completion. The Minister explained that he aims by the end of this year to seek approval from the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to prioritise Government investment in further developing over 100 major flood defence schemes to provide protection against floods of this nature. Six of these proposed schemes are in the affected areas from Buncrana to Ballyboffet with a scheme for Raphoe at tender stage at this time.
For other affected areas the Minister wishes to assure residents and businesses that his Office will continue to work in collaboration with Donegal County Council to identify localised solutions through the OPW’s Minor Works Scheme. To date the OPW has provided in the order of €1.1m for 30 projects across the county since 2009.
The Minister concluded, “This Government is fully committed to tackling flooding and this is witnessed by the €430 million 6 year programme of capital investment on flood defence measures which are in place as part of the Government’s overall Capital Investment Plan 2016 – 2021. During this time the annual allocation for flood defence schemes will more than double to €100m”.