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O’Neill receives report on October floods

Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill today said that lessons would be learnt in the wake of the October floods.
Monday, 19 December 2011

The Minister was speaking as she received a report on the flooding incidents which was carried out by her Assembly Private Secretary, Pat Doherty MP MLA.

The Minister said: “After the October floods I made an additional £1million available for flood alleviation measures. I was also able to recently announce that flood alleviation schemes in Beragh and Ballygawley would be brought forward. However it is clear from this report that funding is not the only solution for helping with such flood incidents.

“I am concerned that the report identified that whilst the Rivers Agency is highly experienced in flood response, it is not sufficiently resourced to deal with more major flood incidents than those experienced in October. I will be raising this resource issue at Executive level to see what can be done to ensure that the Agency is better equipped to deal with large scale events in future.

“The report has also identified that whilst the Rivers Agency has well established emergency response procedures in place, these could be strengthened with closer working with local councils.

“I would agree with the report’s recommendation that protocols between the Rivers Agency and local community organisations should play a part in flood response. Such arrangements could help in the distribution of sandbags for at risk flood areas.”

The Minister concluded: “I would like to thank Pat for the high priority that he gave to compiling this report. I will be meeting with the Chief Executive of the Agency to discuss how best to implement the findings.”

A copy of the report can be found here.

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