Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Aodhán raising the issue of the Dublin floods in Dáil Éireann

Aodhán: “I share the anger expressed already and also express my condolences to the families who have lost family members. I will limit my comments to the emergency relief fund and its potential. I understand the complications that might be involved in who oversees and administers it. Ultimately, that is a decision for the Government.

“I ask the Ministers to focus on the central issue that most concerns me for the future, house insurance. Deputy Finian McGrath and I were in Donnycarney this morning. I was in Clontarf last night and residents in Artane were on the telephone to me all day today. Since the Wad River has burst its banks on previous occasions the insurance companies are now refusing to insure homes in the Donnycarney area. Those houses are de facto worthless. One cannot sell one’s house if one cannot get home insurance because a potential buyer cannot get a mortgage if they cannot get house insurance. The houses are worthless and the owners are liable for all the work that must be undertaken in those homes. Families not only have the emotional trauma of having to move out for the couple of months required to fix things again, but there is also the huge financial heartache.

“The city council has let them down time after time. Although moneys have been provided by both the previous Government and this Government for the works to be undertaken, people are still waiting for those works to be carried out. Meanwhile, they are left exposed to the elements. Today, women, children and families are in floods of tears because now they must bear the financial cost. I have a direct question for the Minister. Those families are financially liable because, through no fault of theirs, they have no home insurance. They have been left high and dry by the insurance companies. Can we find a mechanism to support them at this time? They must keep an eye on the skies every day of their lives until the next flood, which is inevitably only months away unless those essential works are carried out.”

Deputy Brian Hayes: “On the last question raised by Deputy Ó Ríordáin about floods and insurance, I have visited many parts of the country and spoken to many communities. A number of them have seen important work carried out by the local authority or the OPW but they still cannot get insurance. I have already met with the Irish Insurance Federation and I hope to be in a position to announce a new protocol over the next month which will give a measure of better communication with the Irish Insurance Federation and the insurance companies, whereby they will know the work we have done and will take account of that. Where the State invests colossal sums of money it is utterly wrong that the insurance companies do not provide the insurance cover.

“The Deputy spoke about people being unable to get insurance cover. That is a very real issue for communities throughout the country. My officials are in discussion with the Insurance Federation to see whether we can make some progress on this issue because I am determined that we have a much better means of communication between our Department and the insurance companies that they understand that funding is being put in place.