The Irish National Flood Forum, which is backing an outspoken flood campaigner standing for election in Cork South West on the issue, said insurance cover and flood defences will be a major election issue.
Forum spokesman, Jer Buckley, whose business in Blackpool in Cork City has been flooded several times, said the Government must tackle the industry.
“We don’t want any more Government ministers on boats, in canoes or on the backs of tractors visiting us. What we want is solutions,” he said.
He spoke out last night as the insurance industry prepares to deliver its response today following last week’s meeting with the Taoiseach on the provision of insurance cover for those affected by flooding. Taoiseach Enda Kenny asked senior executives of Aviva, Alliance, Axa, Zurich, FBD, AIG, and RSA to reflect on the current level of insurance cover being provided in areas where flood protection works have taken place and, to examine their current approach to “demountable” flood defences as they relate to insurance cover. The industry agreed to respond by today in relation to the demountable flood defences issue.
Leading flood campaigner, Gillian Powell, who is standing as an independent in Cork South West on the issue, called on the insurance industry to use the money it has saved following the delivery of flood defences in places like Fermoy, Clonmel and Kilkenny, to extend cover to other areas.
“We don’t want sympathy. We want solutions,” she said.
“We believe this issue is a national emergency but nobody seems to have a sense of urgency about the problem.
Mr Buckley said it was pointless in the Government spending over €1bn on flood defences over the next decade in the absence of an agreement with insurance companies on the reinsurance of communities who benefit from these defences.
“We’re living in hope ahead of the insurance industry’s response,” he said.
“We don’t understand that where flood defence schemes have been completed and where there has been dramatically reduced risk, that there would be a need for extra levies.”
Last week’s meeting between the Taoiseach, government ministers and the insurance industry was the first of many engagements which will feed into a Government report on the flooding issue, due in spring.