Culvert and grate for Ballybrack Stream must be examined
Speaking in the Dáil this evening (Tuesday) on Topical Issues, Fine Gael Cork South Central TD, Jerry Buttimer, called for a full and honest explanation of the sequence of events which led to flooding in Douglas, which devastated homes and businesses.
“In the early hours of last Thursday morning, businesses and homes in Douglas village were devastated by uncharacteristic flooding. Homes on St. Columba’s Terrace and St. Patrick’s Terrace were flooded and businesses in the village, in the shopping centre and in Douglas West suffered tremendous damage.
“In the Dáil today I raised the serious concerns of the residents and business people in Douglas with the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan TD. Those who are dealing with the aftermath of the flooding deserve a full and honest explanation of the events which led to the devastation. When a full explanation is received it will become clear exactly what caused the flooding.
“The issue of the culvert is central to the flooding and there are a lot of questions which need to be answered. Last year, the County Council spent hundreds of thousands of euros on a culvert and grate for Ballybrack Stream; we need to know if both functioned as planned. Locally, there are fears that the proximity of the grate to the culvert and the infrequent clearing of the stream contributed to the flooding. These concerns need to be addressed.
“The aftermath of the flooding leaves many issues for local residents. They are faced with rectifying the damage to their homes and with making insurance claims. Too often insurance companies are less than cooperative, failing to promptly deal with claims and pay out money which is rightly due to those affected. The insurance industry needs to be brought to task to ensure it looks after their customers in their hour of need.
“The Environment Minister has recognised the impact of the flooding on residents and businesses. He confirmed that he will specifically ask to the have issue of the culvert investigated as part of the report which he has requested from Cork County and City Councils.
“In the Minister’s reply to me he said that the Council had checked drainage systems and had staff on stand-by, following weather warnings last Wednesday. That these steps failed to prevent damage to homes and businesses raises questions about the effectiveness of the Council’s emergency plan for dealing with floods.
“People affected by last week’s flooding deserve an immediate response. The Minister confirmed that Government Departments and State agencies are available to assist people in Douglas. The Department of Social Protection is available for once off payments and exceptional needs. Also the Department of Finance will liaise with financial institutions asking them to provide as much assistance as possible to those affected.
“The fears and nervousness of residents and business people must be allayed. They need an explanation and reassurance that steps will be taken to prevent a repeat of last week’s flooding.”