Politicians have ‘not a bit of interest’ in my situation, says flood victim

Paddy Towey in the kitchen of his flooded home in Offaly. Picture: James Flynn/APX

A victim of the flooding which caused millions of euro worth of damage this winter says he is angry over revelations that State bodies which formed to manage flood risk failed to meet for years at a time.

Paddy Towey has not returned to his Offaly home since a deluge of floodwater rushed into the house on December 7.

Earlier this week, a Comptroller and Auditor General report found that officials in control of “flood risk and response” did not sit down together from 2009 until July 2015. It reported that a second group, overseen by the Office of Public Works and charged with assessing and managing flood risk based on the study of river catchments, did not meet for four years up to November 2014.

“It just goes to show that these people don’t live in the conditions we are,” said Mr Towey.

“Setting up these bodies full of people who live in areas outside the areas affected is a waste. They are not even appealing to us for information, or feedback on how it is to live in these areas.”

Mr Towey had stronger words for the politicians in Leinster House who have failed to form a government five weeks after the election.

“It’s absolutely disgraceful. I can think of stronger words to use but I won’t,” he said.

Mr Towey moved from his flooded home to a campervan until he was provided with a house. However he described the alternative accommodation as “cold, damp, and unhealthy”.

“I had to get out of there, and back into the campervan,” he said.

It was there he spent Christmas, New Year’s, and nine weeks without electricity, running water, or sanitation.

While he has since been given alternative accommodation that is more suitable, Mr Towey said it will be some time before he is able to go back into his home.

He said the compensation he has been offered through his insurance will not be enough to clean out his home properly after the flood, let alone repair the extensive damage caused.

Meanwhile, he claims his case has been met with indifference by local politicians.

Mr Towey said that, with the exception of one councillor, local representatives have shown “not a bit of interest” in his circumstances. “Some drive in, have a couple of words, and drive out,” he said.

The C&AG report also found that pilot flood management schemes were “significantly behind schedule” and its expenditure ran well over its original estimates. The OPW has missed deadlines to produce flood hazard maps of 300 areas across the country.

“I am angry. To see your home destroyed is awful. It wasn’t my fault that the flooding came, or that they were unprepared,” said Mr Towey.


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