For Oral Answer on : 26/10/2023
Question Number(s): 34 Question Reference(s): 46921/23
Department: Public Expenditure, National Development Plan Delivery and Reform
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
* To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure; National Development Plan Delivery and Reform to outline the supports being provided by his Department to assist those affected by the recent flooding in east Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– David Stanton T.D.
For ORAL answer on Thursday, 26 October, 2023.
I want, on my own and on the Government’s behalf to express sympathy to the people in Cork County and other locations who had their houses and businesses flooded or were impacted by Storm Babet.
On Thursday last, the day after the flooding event An Taoiseach and I visited Midleton. We wanted to meet with the local community to see at first hand the devastating impact from Storm Babet, to hear first-hand their experiences and to reassure the community of the Government’s support to them during the recovery from this event and to deliver a scheme for the town. We also met with officials from Cork County Council during this visit.
Across East Cork and other local authority areas, the local authority staff, An Garda Siochána, Civil Defence, the Defence Forces and the Irish Coastguard worked to provide an emergency response to those affected. I would like to pay tribute to the staff concerned for their work during these very difficult and challenging conditions.
On Friday last I met with officials from Cork City Council when I visited Glanmire to meet with those affected in that community.
The Government has initiated all appropriate responses to the flooding situation. Heather Humphries, Minister for Social Protection, activated the humanitarian assistance scheme on the 19th October to support households in Cork City and County and West Waterford, including Cork City, Midleton, Youghal, Castletownbere, Mallow, Tallow and Dungarvan and other affected areas.
The purpose of this scheme is to prevent hardship by providing income-tested financial support to people whose homes are damaged from flooding and severe weather events and who are not in a position to meet costs for essential needs, household items and structural repair.
A total of 223 payments amounting to €147,260 has been made to those affected by the recent flooding.
Minister Humphreys has also increased the income limits for the scheme with immediate effect.
In addition, Simon Coveney, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, has opened two Emergency Business Flooding Schemes for small businesses, sports clubs, community, and voluntary organisations unable to secure flood insurance and affected by the recent flooding in Counties Cork, Waterford, Limerick, Kilkenny and Louth.
The schemes provide humanitarian support contributions towards the costs of returning small businesses, sporting, voluntary and community premises to their pre-flood condition including the replacement of flooring, fixtures and fittings and damaged stock where relevant. Assistance of up to €100,000 can be made available under the Scheme.
In addition to the humanitarian assistance, financial assistance by way of low-cost loans is immediately available from Microfinance Ireland to small businesses that cannot get loan financing from other lenders. Loan options include cashflow loans of up to €25,000, which can be used for general business purposes including re stocking and other business costs. Loans for capital expenditure are also available which could fund the refurbishment of premises or the replacement of equipment.
On Tuesday of this week, I and my officials met with the Chief Executive and senior officials from Cork County Council and the scheme’s consultants to discuss how the Midleton flood relief scheme scheme can be delivered as quickly as possible.
I would like to reassure this House that this Government will do all it can as quickly and efficiently as possible to help the communities affected by the recent storms and flooding.