Several Wexford Councillors have written to the Wexford County Council seeking a special meeting…
Following the recent weather events, Sinn Féin Councillors Forde & Ó Súilleabháin, along with their colleagues Cllrs. Codd, Hynes and Owens have today written to the Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council, requesting that a Special Meeting of Wexford County Council be convened to discuss this week’s flooding around the county.
Speaking on Tuesday evening, Cllr Forde said:
“Having spent the day assisting flood victims in Bridgetown yesterday with my Sinn Féin colleague Michael Roche, it is clear to me that we need to ensure appropriate and immediate action is taken to support all these families and business-owners around the County. Unlike general or national weather warnings, the majority of the worst flooding was confined to Co. Wexford in this instance, and as such, we should have a localised and bespoke response.”
“It is our hope that we can use this meeting to confirm and extend the current and future supports available to victims of flooding, both financial and otherwise, in order to alleviate any mis-information for both domestic and commercial victims. We also need to address any potential short-comings in these supports, such as means tests and delay of payments due to surveys or assessments.”
Meanwhile, Cllr Ó Súilleabháin highlighted how the floods have also served as an opportunity to gain some more clarity on capital projects relating to flooding in Wexford, noting that the Enniscorthy issue has continued to be ‘kicked down the road’ by successive governments:
“As a council we must meet immediately to ensure we are doing all we can to assist these home and business owners, both here in my own area in north Wexford, and everyone affected around the County. This is also an opportunity to seek an update on capital projects that relate to flooding such as the Enniscorthy Flood Defence Scheme, which as we all know has been kicked down the road by successive Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments for years, despite Enniscorthy having had 2 government Ministers for extended periods over the last decade.
“There is also the issue of road drainage and infrastructure funding, a topic that quite frankly, I am blue in the face raising at both district and County meetings. Our roads budget is simply not adequate and, having been cut for the last 13 years, we now have a short-fall of 40-60 million euro. This is only further highlighted by the amount of damage to our small bridge network throughout the county in places such as Wilton, Kilcarby and Adamstown. Some of these bridges are 100/150/200 years old and are not designed for the volume of modern traffic, as well as the significant changes in climate we are now seeing.”
“This meeting would also be a good opportunity to ascertain if additional warning information could have been available from Met Éireann to allow for better planning of sandbag distribution and road closures, similar to the warnings received during the recent Storm Barra. While these dramatic scenes happened on a quiet traffic day, it could have been a different story if bridges started collapsing during the morning commute or school-run,” the Sinn Fein councillor said.
Cllr Forde then added that the special meeting would ensure that that the flood victims will receive the necessary support:
“It is also hoped that by dealing with these issues at a Special Meeting, held in the very immediate days following the request we sent today, that we can offer the flood victims the necessary support they need in a timeline more suited to the immediacy of their situation and perhaps a stand-alone Flood Relief Meeting will ensure that the Council’s monthly meeting later in January will not become monopolised by this issue, and allow our other work to proceed as planned.”
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