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Taoiseach promises people of flood-hit Inishowen they will not be forgotten about

first_imgThe Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has made a pledge to the people offlood-hit Co Donegal that the Government will not be found wantingwhen it comes to putting their lives and homes back together.The Fine Gael leader flew into the Inishowen Peninsula by armyhelicopter this afternoon to see first-hand the devastationcaused by Tuesday night’s floods.Speaking to the media, Mr Varadkar suggested that funding allocationfor such natural disasters including flood relief will have toincrease. “I just wanted to see the scale of the damage and meet the residentsand the business people who were affected.“I think you have to see it to see the scale of the damage that hasbeen done and what really occurs to me is that it’s extraordinary thatnobody was killed or seriously injured and I think we were blessedthat nobody was injured or killed.“The key thing now is the cleanup and the clean-up is well underwayand the army has now been posted here and are helping with that.“I’m satisfied with the response so far and that has to be sustainedin the coming days and additional funding will be made available tothe council to carry out the necessary repairs and the Red Cross andthat that is open to businesses and sport and voluntary bodies whodon’t have insurance. An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister Joe McHugh, Regina Doherty with playgroup leader Sarah Quigley-Burns when they visited flood damaged areas of North Donegal. (North West Newspix)“There will be a very strong central Government approach to assist thepeople of Inishowen in the weeks ahead because it is going to takeweeks to put things right,” he said.The Taoiseach also suggested that with an increase in the number ofnatural disasters across the country, the €430M budget for floodrelief may have to be increased.He said “It is a very substantial budget but I don’t think a budgetfor flood relief can ever be enough and perhaps the same applies tohealth and to education and to roads and so many different areas.“But thankfully because the economy is performing strongly and becauseof the recovery that has happened in recent years and so many morepeople are working we are going to have additional revenues in theyears ahead.“If we continue to manage the economy well so additional revenues willallow us to increase that budgets in years to come and I’m sure thatwill be done.” The Fine Gael leader refuted claims that he was late in visiting thearea saying he did not think it was “relevant’ that it took him threedays to arrive in Donegal.“I am here and very many Government Ministers have been herealready…I don’t think there has been any shortage of Governmentinterest in this issue, I think half the cabinet have been Inishowenso I think the most important thing is the Government response and Ithink the response from Government is going to be very strong inproviding any assistance that is needed.“I can assure you that the response from the agencies did not startfrom today or from this morning but happened straight away,” he said.His first stop was in the town of Carndonagh which was one of theworst-hit areas during the torrential downpours. On the outskirts of the town in the townland of Glack, the Taoiseachmet with farmer Phil Doherty and his family.Mr Doherty said “We were lucky enough in that our house was notdamaged but a lot of the fields were badly hit and the river besidethe home burst its banks and will need to be repaired.The Taoiseach replied “It’s terrible but I’m just happy that nobodywas killed or injured,” he said.Through the town, the Taoiseach, who was accompanied by MinisterRegina Doherty, met business owners whose premises were damaged by thefloods.Among them was Sarah Quigley-Burns, who owns the Little Acorns crechein the town.Ms Quigley-Burns has 104 children enrolled at the creche which wasdevastated by the flooding.She explained to the Taoiseach how she wanted to open next Wednesdaybut may be subject to inspection by Tusla.She stressed that she was always compliant with all regulations butjust needed some help to put her creche back in order.“I understand that the services are stretched and that people whosehomes have been damaged should be sorted first.“But we would appreciate any help we can get. I would dearly loveanother humidifier. That would be a big help,” she said.Local Government Minister summoned council staff and asked them toprovide Ms Quigley-Burns with a humidifier.In the Good as News charity shop across the courtyard, Ms Mary Farrendescribed how two tractor loads of donated clothes and other goods hadto be taken away.Ms Farren and her staff run the charity shop to raise funds for thelocal Catholic Church.“I am delighted that the Taoiseach has come to Inishowen so at leasthe can see first hand what we are going through.“I arrived here on Wednesday and we just had to dump out so much ofour stock. It was ruined but people have been so good and they havebeen dropping off stuff again to us,” she said.Taoiseach Varadkar pointed to the floor where there was severalplastic bags containing potatoes asking if they were for sale.He was told they were and that they were €3 a bag to which MinisterRegina Doherty produced money and bought a bag.In McCurdy’s Cafe, owner Charlie McCurdy said he could not afford toremain closed to repair his business completely.“I opened here at Easter and I have put everything I have into thisbusiness. I work seven days a week.“I am now battling with my insurance company to see if I am covered.What the banks and the insurance companies have got away with in thiscountry is immoral, it’s immoral I tell you,” he said.After meeting business owners, the Taoiseach then visited a nearbyhousing estate which was also damaged by the heavy floods.From there he headed to Buncrana where he was brief by localcouncillors as well as Chief Executive Officer of Donegal CountyCouncil, Seamus Neely.He also viisted residents on Swan Park, another area badly hit by the floods.As the Taoiseach toured the peninsula, the first of the influx of armypersonnel from the 28th battalion at Finner Camp arrived in Inishowen.A total of 30 soldiers arrived yesterday to assist residents with apromise that more will follow.The soldiers were divided into different groups to assist in Burnfoot,Buncrana, Clonmany and Carndonagh, assisting owners with clean up inthe aftermath of the floods.In one of the worst-hit area on the Lios na Greine estate in Burnfoot, foursoldiers spent the morning filling skips with damaged property whichcould not be salvaged.Taoiseach promises people of flood-hit Inishowen they will not be forgotten about was last modified: August 27th, 2017 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:donegalFLOODINGInishowenTaoiseachlast_img read more