More ministers to visit flood-hit Inishowen communities today

Inter-agency coordination group meeting in Dublin to discuss Donegal flood crisis

Staff Reporter

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Staff Reporter

More ministers to visit flood-hit Inishowen communities  today

Social protection minister Regina Doherty.

Three more government ministers will visit Inishowen today in the wake of Tuesday’s devastating flooding.

Minister for Defence Paul Kehoe and Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed will meet with Government Chief Whip and TD for Donegal Joe McHugh.

Social protection minister Regina Doherty will speak with flood victims and department staff in Buncrana.

In Dublin a meeting of an inter-agency coordination group to help deal with the crisis is taking place this morning.

Today’s visits follow visits by transport minister Shane Ross and minister of state for the OPW Kevin Moran.

Department of Social Protection teams will also be in affected areas today giving further information on financial assistance – families earning less than €70,000 are entitled to full payments on losses across a wide range of items.

Minister McHugh also said the true scale of losses among homeowners and tenants across towns and villages have yet to be assessed.

“I know the official homeless figure so far involves around 17 families but it is much greater than that,” said the Donegal TD.

“That is the number of families who sought emergency accommodation and I am grateful to all the Government agencies involved. However many other families have been taken in by relatives or neighbours who wanted them to stay with them rather than seek assistance. I know of one family scattered across the four homes of different relatives. It has been heart-breaking to hear of these personal tragedies.”

Minister McHugh went on: “I am also working to ensure financial assistance is available to sporting and tourism organisations which were hit by this disaster; groups which lost everything. I have contacted Minister Brendan Griffen about this.

“I am also working with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Cabinet colleagues to ensure that business organisations are assisted in the days and weeks ahead.

“An initial assignment of a Defence Forces platoon will be in Inishowen today (Friday) to help with the clear up with more personnel available if needed.

“I have also spoken with families who have received emergency cash payments so that school uniforms and food can be bought over the next few days and we are working to find alternative homes for some of them.”

Minister McHugh added: “Families have lost everything and it is the responsibility of Government to help them rebuild their lives.

“I am grateful to all my ministerial colleagues and their officials, Donegal County Council and the incredible good neighbours who have done so much to alleviate the pressures of this crisis in the past 72 hours. I will do everything to ensure that all those who need help get it.”

Local councillor Bernard McGuinness said: "It is essential that everything which can be done in the hours and days ahead is done.

"I want to thank Minister McHugh and all our ministers who have worked so hard to make sure those affected are getting the help they need. This work will continue in the days and weeks ahead."