Flooded families may be paid to relocate

Families living in isolated flood-prone areas will be paid to relocate under proposals being considered by the Government.

It comes as figures compiled by the Irish Examiner reveal that the costs related to Storm Desmond have totalled more than €130m.

The Department of Environment paid out more than €17.7m in clean-up costs in the wake of the storms which included €1.8m in Cork county and €3m to Galway county.

The Department of Transport has so far spent €15.7m, but has allocated a total of €106m to repair roads and infrastructure across the country.Other departments have also assisted businesses, families, and farmers.

The minister responsible for flood relief, Seán Canney, is now considering a relocation scheme for those in isolated flood prone areas.

A draft report from an interdepartmental group is due to be delivered to Mr Canney in the coming weeks which will put forward the possibility of relocating those living and working in flood-hit areas.

“There was a similar scheme put in place after the 2009 floods. That was a voluntary relocation scheme for private dwellings,” said Mr Canney.

“There are isolated cases where the cost-benefit analysis shows that it is not viable to build flood defences.”

The previous scheme set up in 2010 offered around 20 households in Galway, Roscommon, and Offaly the opportunity to move.

A total of 14 households availed of the scheme, which was funded through the Department of Social Protection.

At the time, €2.24m was paid out, and amounts to households ranged from €71,000 to €230,000.

Flooding in Cork
Flooding in Cork

A department spokesman said: “There is currently no relocation scheme in operation following the December 2015 flooding. There is a commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government to introduce a voluntary property relocation scheme and the inter-departmental flood policy coordination group chaired by the OPW is currently completing its final report and will be bringing proposals to Government.”

Mr Canney added that the numbers of homes and businesses that would qualify for such a scheme would have to be identified.

Meanwhile, the damage caused by flooding and storms in late 2015 and early 2016 is still being repaired.

The Department of Environment paid out more than €17.7m in clean-up costs, which included €1.8m in Cork county, while Cork City had a bill for €297,000.

The Department of Environment allocated €3m to Galway county and a further €1.22m was spent in Westmeath while Mayo received €1.39m.

Small businesses have received more than €3.2m through the Red Cross emergency humanitarian flood assistance scheme.

The scheme allowed people to apply for funding of up to €5,000 without assessment and €1.36m was given through this first phase.

The Department of Social Protection has spent €1.48m assisting 551 households which were hit by severe flooding through its Humanitarian Assistance Scheme.

The average payment to these homes was €2,7000 and were mainly located in Galway, Cork, Westmeath, Tipperary, Mayo, Kilkenny and Clare.

Some 328 farmers were helped through the Department of Agriculture’s fodder aid scheme and received a total of €657,000.

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