VICTIMS of the November floods have described a cross-party investigation’s inability to come to any firm conclusions on what caused the crisis as “a typical political response” to the major problem.
Speaking after a leaked version of the Oireachtas Environment Committee report into last winter’s severe weather was revealed by the Irish Examiner, Greg Franklin said the document failed to answer the questions at the centre of the inquiry.
The spokesperson for the Cork Flood Action Committee (CFAC) agreed with the group’s legal adviser Joe Noonan that the information in the report will be of “prime value” over the months to come as the CFAC concludes its own independent investigation of the crisis.
However, the 49-year-old, who along with hundreds of other victims has seen his insurance premium costs increase 300% and no longer has flood insurance cover, said the failure to confirm who is responsible is of serious concern to those affected.
And he added if no conclusions are drawn then the seven-month Oireachtas report will effectively be seen as a waste of time by the public.
“The fact is they have compiled all of this information and haven’t made any conclusions. We find it strange they are saying ESB’s management of the dams should be reviewed but have not said who is culpable for what happened.
“It’s typical politicians, and it was a typical political response to an issue that has badly damaged Cork city.
“We still have huge concerns that have not been addressed, questions they say will be answered in an independent inquiry. But we don’t know when that will be set up or who will be on it.
“Nothing has been put in place for this coming November, we don’t have insurance protection this time around and we can’t sell our houses because no one will buy them after the floods.
“If it happens again this year, we will be ruined financially,” he said.
Although the cross-party committee has been criticised for failing to make any conclusions on what exactly caused the crisis, legal experts have confirmed it is limited on what it can say because of legal ramifications.
A major dispute between the High Court and the Oireachtas committee system took place over the Garda shooting of John Carthy in Abbeylara, Co Longford, in April 2000.
This dispute has led to a watering down of some committees’ inquiries into particular matters, legal experts noted.
Environment Minister John Gormley said, at the start of this year, he would wait until the Oireachtas committee concluded its report before deciding on opening an independent inquiry into the Cork floods.
The CFAC is considering seeking a meeting with Cork politicians and the minister to discuss the issue over the coming weeks.
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