Emergency humanitarian aid of €15m is being made available to flood victims without insurance as storms again battered the country.
Cork was badly hit last night, with the city centre, the harbour towns of Kinsale and Cobh, and the towns of Carrigaline, Midleton, and Clonakilty among the areas flooded. Witnesses reported waves of about 30ft crashing over houses in Glandore, Co Cork. There was also flooding in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, while the promenade in Tramore, Co Waterford, was also under water.
Hurricane-force winds were reported in Co Waterford and Wexford.
The ESB reported that about 19,000 customers from Cork to Tipperary were without power.
There was anger in parts of Cork at the Government’s response.
Humphrey Deegan, a Fine Gael councillor and director of the Imperial Hotel in Clonakilty, said last night there was about 3ft of water outside his premises and that they had used floodgates, expanding foam, and “many prayers”.
“Fuck the OPW. They did sweet fuck all for us. We are now fighting a rearguard action and we are trying to stop the floodwaters coming up through the toilets.”
Prior to the flooding, Brian Hayes, the OPW minister, said the country needed to be realistic: “The idea that we can protect every acre of land in the country is a lie and a pretence that has to be struck on its head.”
The €15m announced yesterday is on top of an existing €10m social protection fund and first payments are expected to be made “within days”.
Householders affected by flooding will be able to claim compensation through local community welfare offices.
The Department of the Environment signalled the aid would increase as €15m was an “initial” figure. The Taoiseach announced the move after coming under fire in the Dáil for not reacting with enough speed or action in the face of the latest batch of storms to lash the country.
The trail of devastation left by the weather and high tides forced Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin to concede the country’s flood strategy needed to be re-examined as he is “fearful that these events could be part of a regular pattern”.
Met Éireann warned another 45mm of rain was expected over a 36- hour period as Atlantic storms again swept over the country.
As ministers signalled they were likely to apply for EU emergency aid, the Government said the Cabinet would consider the situation next week as damage assessments from local authorities were needed before final relief and repair funding could be agreed.
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams branded the €15m aid package a “drop in the ocean” as he said the Government had taken €320m from local authorities’ funding.
Environment Minister Phil Hogan warned people to stay away from danger areas.
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