VIDEO: Flooded businesses in Bandon demand funding after Storm Desmond

Calls for emergency funding for businesses hammered by Storm Desmond grew yesterday as people in Bandon, Co Cork, vented their fury over delayed flood relief works.
VIDEO: Flooded businesses in Bandon demand funding after Storm Desmond

The town was one of the worst hit by the weekend floods and, as the clean-up effort continued, many people were preparing to attend a march demanding speedy action from the Government as the busiest time of the year for retail businesses gets under way.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney visited the town yesterday and said that people were “very angry”, claiming “they want the Government to do more”.

“We need to respond to that,” he said, stressing that while he and others would be bringing proposals to Cabinet today, there were legal difficulties with giving businesses money for flood relief as that, unlike direct assistance to householders, was not provided for under legislation.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney and Jim Daly TD take a tour of the premises which were flooded on Saturday night in Bandon, Co Cork. Picture: Dan Linehan
Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney and Jim Daly TD take a tour of the premises which were flooded on Saturday night in Bandon, Co Cork. Picture: Dan Linehan

“We will try and make decisions tomorrow in Cabinet,” he said. On financial support for businesses, he said: “Maybe there is another way of doing it.”

Earlier, Mr Coveney, who chairs the Government’s taskforce on emergency planning, said: “For people that don’t have insurance, it really is a nightmare scenario and we don’t want those people to go out of business.

“We want to be able to help business get back on their feet before Christmas and we are looking at ways that we can help quickly, but at the same time, do that within the law.”

In Bandon’s case, much anger is due to lengthy delays in starting a long-promised flood relief scheme. Legal challenges mean it could be 2018 before the plan is completed, with businesses which currently cannot get flood insurance facing a nervous wait.

Former county mayor Alan Coleman (Ind) said Simon Harris, the minister with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, should visit Bandon and “personally oversee” the signing-off on the completed tender before the election.

Meanwhile, people in Bandon and other flood-hit towns are anxiously monitoring forecasts after warnings that more bad weather could be on the way.

Westmeath County Council has warned that houses in Athlone could be at risk of flooding after predictive data from ESB signalled rising water levels on the River Shannon for the next five days. It has activated its Flood Emergency Response Plan.

Clare County Council also said it had been informed by the ESB of plans for further significant release of waters from Parteen Weir and that the volume of water planned for release is at a level which is likely to cause flooding of roads and could also potentially affect property in flood prone locations.

The local authority is distributing sandbags to property owners in the Springfield area of Clonlara in what it described as an “evolving situation”. It is also responding to a request from property owners in the Doorus area of O’Callaghan’s Mills and in Springfield, Clonlara, for emergency accommodation due to rising floodwaters.

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