It is easier to be enthusiastic about yesterday’s suggestion from Brendan Howlin, the minister for public expenditure and reform, that floods, and the likelihood of repeated flooding, makes it prudent to consider a relocation programme for the most vulnerable people than it is to be enthusiastic about another insurance levy to make it possible to insure homes and business in areas that will be flooded repeatedly.
One of Mr Howlin’s proposals is a finite solution, the other an open-ended cost imposed on all consumers, consumers who bear no responsibility, other than social collegiality, in this issue. If the relocation proposal averts some of the wilder engineering solutions proposed by some landowners, then it would be even more attractive.
Insurance, and insurance costs, are hugely contentious and anything that increases those costs would be very unwelcome — especially as some insurance companies seem more than cavalier when their customers seek the protection supposedly offered by their policies. It is important that before any response is agreed that those involved recognise they will be setting a precedent as climate change is certain to make relocation ever more unavoidable in decades to come — has have the reckless zoning decisions allowing building on flood plains. In that context, publicly supported, albeit traumatic, relocation seems the better option, even if it would be horrendously expensive.
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