Adams committed to supporting Louth flood victims

DSC_3254_6510Sinn Féin President and Louth TD Gerry Adams has been in contact with Louth County Council and the Department of Social Protection following his visit to flooded homes in the Mounthamilton area of Dundalk.

Teachta Adams said;

“Since his flooding episode began I have visited flood sites at Dundalk, Carrick-on-Shannon and Co Clare.

“I have witnessed the devastation of family homes and the destruction of people’s livelihoods. This is more than just the loss of property and possessions, the people I met have had their whole lives turned upside down.

“In relation to flooding at Mounthamilton on the Ardee Road, Dundalk people are frustrated that this is the third time in recent years that flooding has occurred. They feel that on this occasion flooding could have been avoided had preventative measures they outlined 13 months ago been enacted.

“I spoke to Louth County Council Chief Executive Joan Martin yesterday and she has agreed to look at a number of measures which will hopefully alleviate flooding in Dundalk. I raised with her the possibility of creating a permanent trench to take water from the Mounthamilton area, the widening of the culvert under the Ardee Road and we discussed a capital scheme which would remove the flood risk in this area and along the length of the Blackwater River.

“I am committed to helping find a permanent solution to this flooding and to work with all local and central government agencies on this matter.”

Deputy Adams also outlined his efforts in relation to financial support for the affected families;

“My office has been in touch with the Divisional Officer in the local social welfare office and there are dedicated staff there to help with completing ‘Humanitarian Assistance’ application forms. I have put the affected families in contact with the relevant staff members.”

Gerry Adams concluded by calling on the Government to introduce a single flood authority saying;

“It is not acceptable that families driven out of their homes by floods have to liaise with a raft of agencies to access supports and that it is left up to unfortunate home owners to resolve their own flooding issues.

“The Government must be proactive in the short term to sanitize these homes to endure they are fit to live in so that families can move back in. The Government must also draft a compensation package to enable home and business owners to restore their damaged properties. In the longer term it is essential that the Government channel resources into alleviating once and for all the perennial flooding problems in this State.

“The Fine Gael/Labour Government has cut €15.6 million from the Office of Public Works Flood Risk Management Programme. This must be reversed and additional funding must be found to combat flooding.”

Kenneth Flood In Deep Water During Floods

SF Kenneth Flood FloodsLast Thursday seen unprecedented floods all over County Louth but Aston Village got more than its fair share. The ‘dip’ is designed to retain or attenuate storm water in order to flatten out the peak runoff to the stream but something went badly wrong. A month’s rainfall fell in just one day and Councillor Kenneth Flood was caught in the middle of it.

Flood said “The consultant identified a problem with the pipe that is supposed to take the water from this area and feed it into the stream on Thursday Morning. My information was that he was to ask the council for permission to excavate this pipe and fix it. Then the heavens opened and that night seen the stream rise to twelve feet and burst its banks. That meant the only road in and out of the area became impassable.”

Councillor Flood spent the night redirecting traffic, distributing and placing sandbags to try and save houses from being flooded. “Between the Council and the army we managed to get 500 sandbags. We were told the weather was set to worsen through the night so myself and a few others opted to remain out for the night. Eight vehicles were stranded including a paramedics vehicle through the night.

“I want to thank Brian Maher and Gary Swaine for doing the first rescue before the council van and Boyne Fishermen’s Rescue and Recovery came to the estate from other incidents elsewhere. Also I want to thank Louth County Council who helped extract the stranded cars and the residents who worked tirelessly through the night with a special mention to poor Chris Raymond who waded through the flood to reach his car in order to collect more sandbags.”

Councillor Kenneth Flood was still there in the morning when the pupils of AV Educate Together NS started arriving for school. “We blocked the road with cones so no vehicles would attempt to get through and get stranded. We requested parents walk their children to the school and directed traffic along the pathway for those parents who had very small children, one car at a time. Such was the danger from the 8 foot of water in the attenuation area directly adjacent to the footpath, Kevin Butler was wearing a dry suit in case he needed to go into the water to rescue someone. I can’t thank Kevin Butler enough for all of his all of his help all through the night.”

Councillor Flood ended by saying “this whole episode has shown us everything that is good about the community minded citizenry of this country and what a community can achieve when they pull together in times of trouble”.