Minister’s refusal to attend Committee leaves Cork flooding questions unanswered
Environment Minister John Gormley’s refusal to attend a meeting of the Environment Committee to discuss the Report on Severe Weather Events shows that he is running scared from the Report’s finding and that he is completely unwilling to take responsibility for his portfolio.
“Back in July the Joint Committee on Environment, Heritage & Local Government made the decision to invite Minister Gormley to its next meeting, scheduled to take place on 21st September to discuss the Committee’s Fourth Report on Severe Weather Events. This week the Committee has been informed that the Minister has declined its invitation.
“The Minister is acting like a deer that has been caught in the headlights. He must snap out of it now, do the job he was given and face up to his responsibilities.
“There are a series of outstanding questions relating to the devastating floods experienced in Cork last winter that are waiting to be answered. The Minister’s decision to decline the Committee’s invitation to discuss the Report’s findings means that these answers will now be
long-fingered even further.
“Some of the Report’s recommendations were that in times of severe weather, better coordination between State agencies is essential and that either the Minister or the Secretary General of the Department must assume responsibility for any response to a particular crisis.
“The Environment Minister clearly did not have a handle on things when a considerable portion of Cork was submerged under water. Now that he has been given the opportunity to discuss how the situation was handled and to give much sought-after answers to the people of Cork, he has politely declined. One of the greatest honours a public representative can be given is to have a seat at the Cabinet table and serve, not just his or her constituents but all the people of Ireland. Minister Gormley has failed spectacularly in this regard. His unwillingness to engage with the Committee at this time is hugely insulting and a hard slap in the face for the people of Cork.”