Irish Flooding: Locals carry on with everyday life

The Irish government has come in for heavy criticism over its failure to provide an adequate response to the extreme weather which hit Ireland earlier this year.

While the gentlemen in the photograph didn’t seem to perturbed, the damage was severe all over the country in the worst flood damage in living memory.

According to the  Environment Committee in the parliament the responses to both the flooding and the severe cold snap were inadequate.

The report comes to the conclusion that nobody seemed to be in charge of the State’s emergency response system and that there was a lack of communication between the relevant state agencies at the times of the disasters.

Minister for the Environment John Gormley, immediately went on the defensive, maintaining that the emergencies were “properly dealt with”, but acknowledged that there had been communication difficulties between his own Department and the Department of Transport.

“Throughout our deliberations we repeatedly encountered a tendency on the part of various relevant State bodies to define their responsibilities more in terms of what they do not include rather than what they do,” the report also concluded.

The Committee also found that there was a failure to warn residents likely to be affected about the imminent danger posed to their health and safety by the floods, particularly in the West of Ireland, which was most badly affected by the natural disaster.

The report also called for an independent investigation of the opening of the Inniscarra dam on the River Lee by the ESB at the height of the bad weather in November, which worsened flooding in the Lee Valley and Cork city. The move by the ESB was heavily criticized in Ireland at the time.

The report makes 26 recommendations for the management of future events, chief among these is that major emergency leadership should be provided by the Minister for the Environment or the secretary general of the department,.
It also made recommendations for the future provision of emergency road gritting salts, which ran out during the winter cold snap, forcing local authorities to leave large stretches of roads unsalted and in treacherous driving conditions.

The report also recommended that flood warning systems should be installed on all major rivers.