Donegal floods: Minister Kevin Moran 'thankful there was no loss of life'
A government minister has said he is “just thankful there was no loss of life” after the “catastrophic” floods that ravaged the north west.
The Minister of State for Flood Relief Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran said he had never seen anything like the events in Donegal that saw more than 100 people having to be rescued from their cars and homes.
Speaking from Donegal, the Independent Alliance Minister insisted the Government would be there to support those affected by the flash flooding that occurred after unprecedented torrential rain.
He told RTE’s Morning Ireland: “This is catastrophic. The Government will not be found wanting.”
Asked about complaints that a badly-hit housing estate in Burnfoot had been turned down for flood defence funding, he said it had not met the cost benefit analysis at the time.
But he said he had the changed the criteria since then, adding: ““We have to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
He said that in every flood to hit the State, the Government “had been found wanting”, and vowed that cost would be no barrier to helping those affected.
He said: “This is bigger than just flood defences. We need to look at the structure and infrastructure of our old towns.
“In every flood event the Government has never been found wanting. We need to not talk about money, we need to talk about people and get them back into their homes. I’m just thankful there was no loss of life.”
Meanwhile, Government chief whip and Donegal TD Joe McHugh has said immediate financial supports are being made available to those affected by the floods.
Following his calls for emergency funding to be made available, the Department of Social Protection has activated its Humanitarian Assistance Scheme.
Minister McHugh said: “I have seen first hand the devastation the flooding has had on local families, homes and businesses, and this fund will help those who are not in a position to meet costs for essential needs, household items and in some instances structural repair.
“When events like this occur the Government needs to help in any and every way we can.
“The stresses families are under is not to be underestimated and myself and my Fine Gael colleagues will do everything we can to relieve that stress and support the people of Donegal.”
Relief funds will initially be targeted at those in need of necessities such as clothing and food, with further supports for household items and structural repair to follow as the clean-up begins.
People and families in need of assistance are being advised to visit the local Intreo Centre where Community Welfare Service Teams are waiting to assist them.
Minister McHugh added: “To ensure we can quickly and effectively meet the needs of those who require our help, the Department of Social Protection has redeployed staff to the offices serving the worst affected areas, notably the Inishowen Peninsula.
“We are asking those in need of supports to visit our local Department of Social Protection offices, however for those unable to travel to our offices they can contact Buncrana Intreo office on (074) 9364600 or Ballybofey Intreo on (074) 9130490.”