Floods may 'permanently displace thousands'

Thousands of people flooded out of their homes may never return, it was claimed tonight.

Junior minister Martin Mansergh, who oversees the Office of Public Works, said resettlement may be their only alternative following the devastation caused by the heaviest rain on record.

“I think relocation is inevitable in the case of some homes,” the minister said.

“People have said and some of them will say it even in a few weeks time when the floods have gone that it isn’t possible to go on living in particular areas so I think that is an area that is going to have to be addressed.”

Thousands of acres in parts of the west, mid-west and south were still under water after the heaviest rain and worst floods on record.

In Galway up to 18,000 people across the county were being warned to boil water after traces of human or animal waste was found in supplies.

Several thousand homes in the Ballinasloe and Mid-Galway areas have been hit by the scare.

In south-east Clare about 20 families evacuated during flooding along the lower River Shannon have been told they can return to their homes.

A €12m flood fund has been put in place by the Government for affected homeowners and businesses with ministers insisting the first payment will be made in the next fortnight.

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