TDs criticise 'cruel' means-testing of emergency funds for flood victims

TDs criticise 'cruel' means-testing of emergency funds for flood victims

By Elaine Loughlin, Political Reporter

There have been calls today for funds to be made available to all families who have been impacted by recent flooding.

More than €235,000 has been so far given to 270 households to help with buying food, clothing and providing emergency accommodation in the wake of the crisis.

Appearing before an Oireachats Committee this afternoon, Helen Faughnan of the Department of Social Protection, which administers the emergency fund, said she expects the amount paid out to increase significantly in the coming weeks as people return to flooded homes.

She said: “The Government has not set a limit on the amount that can be paid to an individual household under this scheme.

“Levels of payment depend on the relative severity of damage experienced and the household’s ability to meet these costs ensuring that the funding is appropriately targeted.”

However, some members of the Education and Social Protection committee criticised the means testing of the scheme.

Fine Gael’s Jim Daly told the Oireachatas Committee: “It’s very hard to explain what it’s like if your home is flooded, it is just the most awful thing to come across to see their belongings, their prized possessions, their photographs everything just destroyed.

“I think when you have a scheme that is titled humanitarian assistance, to means test it afterwards goes against the grain of what it should be.”

The Cork South-West TD was supported by the majority of members at the Education and Social Protection, including senators Marie-Louise O'Donnell and Gerard Craughwell.

However, chair Joanna Tuffy argued against removing the means testing system.

Mr Daly added: “I think it’s cruel, I think it’s wrong and I think we should review that.”

Ms Faughnan said: “The income test for humanitarian assistance is significantly more generous than that which applies in the case of means tested social welfare schemes generally.

“The basic principle of the income test is that individuals and families with average levels of income will qualify for assistance.”

More on this topic

Hundreds still waiting for flood relief fundingHundreds still waiting for flood relief funding

Most in favour of state-back insurance fund to help weather victimsMost in favour of state-back insurance fund to help weather victims

€106m set aside to fix roads damaged in recent floods€106m set aside to fix roads damaged in recent floods

Government announces plan for new group to combat  River Shannon floodingGovernment announces plan for new group to combat River Shannon flooding


More in this Section

Gardaí hope to bring charges today in connection with fatal Wexford stabbingGardaí hope to bring charges today in connection with fatal Wexford stabbing

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael ‘open’ to debate with Sinn FéinFianna Fáil and Fine Gael ‘open’ to debate with Sinn Féin

Michael McGrath: Fine Gael 'becoming increasingly desperate'Michael McGrath: Fine Gael 'becoming increasingly desperate'

Suicidal man found twice in one night by volunteersSuicidal man found twice in one night by volunteers


Lifestyle

It couldn't be easier to add life to soil, says Peter Dowdall.It’s good to get your hands dirty in the garden

Kya deLongchamps sees Lucite as a clear winner for collectors.Vintage View: Lucite a clear winner for collectors

Their passion for the adventures of JK Rowling’s famous wizard cast a love spell on Cork couple Triona Horgan and Eoin Cronin.Wedding of the Week: Passion for Harry Potter cast spell on Cork couple

After in-depth explainers on Watergate and the Clinton affair in seasons one and two, respectively, Slate podcast Slow Burn took a left turn in its third season, leaving behind politics to look at the Tupac-Notorious BIG murders in the mid-1990s.Podcast Corner: Notorious killings feature in Slow Burn

More From The Irish Examiner