Senator Deirdre Clune has criticised the lack of clarity on the situation for those affected by the Cork floods in a debate in the Seanad with the Minister for the Office of Public Works Brian Hayes. Senator Clune is calling on the Minister to engage with the Irish Insurance Federation immediately to address the issue of businesses and homes which are high risk due to flooding in the Cork area.
“Minister Brian Hayes expressed his frustration on the length of time it was taking to deal with this matter when he addressed the Seanad.
“Before this debate I have made my own efforts to gain answers on the flood risk in Cork. Almost a year ago I wrote to Mr. Michael Kemp, the Chief Executive of the Irish Insurance Federation. I have also raised this in the Seanad many times including with Minister Hayes last year in response the severe flooding in Cork in 2009.
“Time and time again I have received the same answer – the Office of Public Works is working with the IIF to improve the information supplied and to prioritise areas where flood defences can usefully contribute to improved insurability.
“However I have yet to see any real progress in the dealings between the insurance companies and the Office of Public Works. Clarity is needed on which department is directly responsible for the area of flooding.
“In response to flooding the local authorities prepare reports which are sent to the OPW and the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. It is unclear which of these parties is responsible for final decisions.
“The Minister of State indicated that he and his officials are currently engaged with the insurance industry to agree a suitable arrangement to address this problem.
“It is evident that this process is still ongoing nearly a year later. This is far too long for the affected individuals to wait, officials need to sit down with the insurance industry representatives to agree what measures should be put in place.
“It is my view that there should be a forum set up where local people could communicate with the OPW and local authorities. For example there are local flood action groups in the UK which use their local knowledge and expertise to liaise with the relevant authorities to come up with practical solutions to flooding.”