THE Government has still not provided a single Flood Risk Management Plan as required under EU Regulations, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North-West, Matt Carthy, has said.
“Our solidarity and immediate support must go to those communities, particularly in the North-West who are facing the aftermath of this week’s torrential rainfall.
“Of course, there will always be occurrences of freak weather that cannot be planned for and there will always be instances of flooding as a result.” he continued.
“However, that should not prevent the government and statutory agencies from doing their utmost to forecast and minimise flooding potential.
“The EU Floods Directive entered into force in Ireland in 2010. Despite a deadline of December 2015 by which to have completed Flood Risk Management Plans, the European Commission has recently confirmed to me that it has still not received any of Ireland’s plans.
“It is outrageous that the Government is almost two years late in producing these plans, with no sign of their publication on the horizon.
“The importance of the delivery of these plans cannot be over-stressed. Bad flooding in various parts of the country at different times has led to large-scale damages to property, loss in value of property, loss of livelihoods and overall social and economic impacts caused by disruptions to daily life.
“This week we again witnessed people awakening to find their way to work blocked by floods or collapsed routes.
“Good planning and management can help curb the risks of flooding, as well as contribute to reducing insurance premiums for people living in flood prone areas.
“Without the delivery of these plans, many local councils will be inhibited in actions they can take, and many developments may be allowed to go ahead without the necessary risk assessments leaving farmers and the wider public at risk during seasonal storms.
“People may also receive hikes in their insurance contracts due to the history of incompetence by successive governments on this issue.”
He added: “The fact that Minister Naughten or the Fine Gael government have not made flood planning a priority means that Ireland will fall behind in the 6 yearly flood risk assessment cycle required under the Directive, due to restart again next year.
“I have written to the Minister demanding to know the time-scale for the production of these reports. There’s no point donning wellies for a photo-op when the time comes if important flood management deadlines are repeatedly disregarded in this manner.”
MEP Matt Carthy concluded: “The European Commission has confirmed to me that they have initiated infringement procedures to enforce compliance on this issue. It would be shameful if Irish communities had to depend on EU legal processes to ensure that the government begins to act in their interest.”