Coping with floods - Inadequate responses

Irrespective of which theory you subscribe to about what causes the floods that have caused, and are still causing, terrible damage, it is easy to agree that they seem to be more frequent than before and increasingly destructive.

Emergency services have acknowledged that recent floods have been the worst in decades. Homes once thought beyond the reach of surging tides or rivers have been inundated. Farmland and coastal properties have been washed away.

Whatever you blame — climate change, rising sea levels, building on flood plains, inadequate maintenance of drainage systems, king tides, methane from cows, draining the bogs that once acted as sponges, or Ballymagash politicians — the problem is getting worse year by year and our response is inadequate. That we have just recorded the wettest January in two decades adds to the sense of urgency and foreboding.

What is apparent, though, is that the scale of the problem puts it beyond the reach of local authorities, possibly even national governments. If, say, the appropriate response to flooding in Limerick, Cork, Waterford, or Wexford was to build tidal barriers, it is doubtful that we could fund those projects — that does not mean they might not be needed, though.

What an opportunity for the EU to show the kind of solidarity it forced upon us when we were cajoled, in a most forceful way, to ensure those reckless financiers who propped up our casino bankers suffered no losses when their whole Ponzi scheme collapsed with such terrible consequences.

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