In the past two months, 450mm of rain fell in the Athenry area of Co. Galway while other parts of the country succumbed to between 220mm and 250mm of rain. Over €1 billion in funding has been allocated for flooding since this Government took power and “no government in the history of the state has announced such money to protect people”.

These were the sentiments expressed by Minister of State Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran who was speaking during Dáil proceedings last week.

He was responding to questions put to him by Fianna Fáil’s deputy Eugene Murphy who pointed out to the minister that he was “well aware” of the widespread flooding across the country.

Farmers in difficulty

Murphy said that several farmers were already in major “difficulty” and people were becoming “extremely nervous” over the situation.

I live in the real world and I know that the minister of state cannot stop the rain from falling.

He continued: “However, I note that the rainfall has been incessant, and its pattern has completely changed. The total rainfall of two or three weeks in years gone can now happen in half a day.

“This is the reality; on this basis, is it time we changed the goalposts? We will have huge problems unless we tackle this matter head on.

“Many people will be left in distress. In Co. Roscommon, 35 or 40 farmers near Lough Funshinagh – who had never been affected – now cannot farm.

“They cannot do their daily business because roads are blocked. Houses and sheds will be in serious bother because they will be flooded. We need some type of action very quickly.”

Finding solutions

Minister Moran, meanwhile, then asked: “What course can we change?”

He added: “We announced 95 schemes; we appointed engineers and consultants; and we have gone through the planning process.

In some cases I will hand back money at the end of this year because of people objecting to the delivery of schemes.

“Take the Tánaiste’s area of Cork – a total of €200 million that was to be invested in the area has faced objections.”