The Buck now Stops with Minister Gormley to implement findings of this Report – BREEN.

July 22nd, 2010 - Pat Breen

Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen has branded the Oireachtas Committee Report which has slammed the state response to last years weather crisis as “inadequate” as a damning indictment of the lack of clear leadership, decisiveness and coordination coming from Central Government. “Lessons must now be learned, a coordinated plan put into action for the future and more importantly the necessary funding must be made available to ensure that the recommendations of this Report are implemented.”

“The reports findings are a damning indictment of the lack of clear leadership coming from Central Government. During the height of the crisis here in County Clare, I visited all the areas which were affected; where I saw and helped many families who were evacuated from their homes and the distress and upset that this caused; acres of land submerged under water; then when the big freeze hit; roads were closed and people were left stranded, and communities could not get enough grit to clear the roads and when they did an issue of health and safety arose. The emergency services; the Fire Service, An Garda Siochana, Local Authority employees and army personnel did their best to deal with the situation on the ground and local communities were out there helping their neighbours, but there was a clear lack of leadership coming from the top.”

“Forecasters are predicting that Ireland’s rainfall will increase even further in the coming year and a number of flood prevention measures have been proposed for areas throughout this County but very little progress has been made. Budgetary constraints have resulted in an allocation of only €20,000 being available from Clare County Council for preventing river flooding in this County and the reality is that the Budget for the OPW has consistently fallen over the past few years.”

“If flood prevention measures are to be put in place in areas which were badly affected by flooding last year, in Clonlara, Sixmilebridge and here in the town of Ennis, then the flood prevention works must be completed to alleviate the risk of future flooding and the necessary funding must be made available to the OPW and the Local Authority so that this work can get underway.”

“The other main issue which arose during the big freeze was the issue of health and safety in relation to local communities who were willing to help and grit their own roads. With winter fast approaching Minister Gormley must clarify this situation and give clear direction to the Local Authority.”

“In the height of this crisis last year, this Government were very slow to respond and there was a clear lack of leadership, decisiveness and coordination coming from Central Government which is reflected in the findings of this report. Lessons must be learned and a coordinated plan must in place for the future. The recommendations of this Report are very clear and the buck now stops with the Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government John Gormley to act on these recommendations.”

ENDS