The opposition has criticised the Government’s “complete lack of urgency” around the flooding crisis, and are to bring two bills on the formation of a River Shannon agency before the Dáil.
With many areas around the country still facing severe flooding, Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin said local communities feel there is a lack of leadership or co-ordination.
A bill on a River Shannon single authority brought forward by Robert Troy is due to be debated when the Dáil resumes next week.
Sinn Féin will also bring forward a bill calling for a River Shannon management agency.
Mr Martin said: “It’s very clear to us that there had been a complete lack of urgency initially by the Government in response to the flooding issue.
“The sense we got back from the regions and being out and about, there was no-one in charge in any areas, the people had no sense of who actually is in charge and who can we get relief from here.”
Longford-Westmeath TD Mr Troy said that without the voluntary efforts of people and groups in Athlone, the area “would have been under a sea of water”.
He said: “We had to wait almost five weeks for the army to be deployed to help, that’s not good enough.
“The army are there to help when we are in an emergency and they weren’t called in for four of five weeks because there was no-one there to show leadership.”
Mr Martin also hit out at Taoiseach Enda Kenny for a delay in action on the issue of insurance for flood prone areas.
Mr Kenny yesterday defended the Government’s new Shannon flood taskforce, but admitted that the Government will have to do more to respond to the flood damage that has hit the country.
“I reject the assertion that the Shannon Management Group is nothing more than a charade and a photographic session,” he said.
Speaking in the Netherlands, Mr Kenny added: “It [the response] is not enough and we will continue to do more.
“And when we have an assessment from the local authorities in respect of roads and bridges we will respond appropriately, provide that money to the local authority but have them then point out to their communities the timescale and the works they intend to carry out for the monies from the Government.”
Sinn Féin will introduce a bill in the Dáil next week to establish a body to have overall responsibility for the assessment and management of flood risk and flood defences along the River Shannon.
Gerry Adams said: “We believe it is absolutely necessary that any such agency established to carry out the level of work required in the Shannon region, both now and into the future.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved