A Galway TD has called for an urgent recall of the Dáil to discuss measures necessary to address the flooding crisis.
Fianna Fáil’s Colm Keaveney has written to the Taoiseach requesting the recall.
“As a representative of one of the worst hit constituencies in the present flooding crisis, I have been frankly appalled at the lack of urgency in the Governments response. The Taoiseach has been invisible in recent days despite numerous warnings issued by Met Éireann about the threat of flooding.
“The UK has been hit by similar flooding and Prime Minister Cameron, to his credit, has been highly visible in affected areas. At the very least, people dealing with the aftermath of flooding in York and other areas can feel that their Government and Prime Minister have noticed their plight. His presence on the ground is providing reassurance to communities.
“With the Dáil heading into its final few weeks before the General Election, time is now limited to agree and implement necessary legislation and funding to deal with the immediate consequences of the flooding and to prepare for future storms.
“Any failure to agree on all necessary measures before the dissolution of this Dáil could result in a delay of two or three months in putting any legislation in place. This will narrow the window of opportunity to begin the installation of flood defences where needed in preparation for the Winter of 2016.
“Any such measures will require significant additional funding to be voted through by the Dáil. I also believe that legislation will be needed to provide for an accelerated planning procedure to be put in place for such flood defences. These measures will need to be debated, agreed and legislated for prior to the dissolution of the Dáil.
“In the shorter term, the people of South Galway, in towns such as Gort, Portumna and Craughwell, and in neighboring counties such as south Roscommon and Tipperary as well as further afield in Cork will require significant financial aid to assist them in coping with the consequences of flood damage.
“The current schemes put in place by the Government are insufficient in terms of the funding available and in terms of their scope. Too many people currently affected by flooding are excluded from these schemes.
“The Government parties also need to give a full account of what measures they have taken in office to tackle flooding. A number of deadlines under the EU Floods Directive have passed under this government. What, if any of them have been met?
“There is little evidence on the ground that the Government parties have done anything to honour this directive and as such they have failed communities throughout the country,” said Deputy Keaveney.
Gardaí bid to identify body recovered near Mutton Island
Gardai have launched an investigation following the discovery of a body in Galway Bay yesterday afternoon.
A member of the public raised the alarm after spotting the body in the water while walking on the causeway to Mutton Island.
Galway Fire Service, Gardai and the RNLI attended the scene and recovered the body at around 4pm, before it was taken to University Hospital Galway for a post mortem.
It is understood that the body may have been in the water for some time.
Gardaí are currently examining a list of missing people in the city.
Gardaí investigate fatal Carraroe crash
A man in his 30s has died following a road crash in Carraroe in the early hours of this morning.
At 3.50am, Gardaí and emergency services attended at a single car collision on a minor road.
The driver of the car, a man in his 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later. A passenger in the car, a male in his 30s, was taken by ambulance to Galway University Hospital. His injuries are not thought to be life threatening.
The road is currently closed and local diversions are in place. Garda forensic collision investigators will examine the crash site this morning.
Land Development Agency rules out Merlin ‘land grab’
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Campaigners have warned the Land Development Agency (LDA) to keep its hands off Merlin Woods.
Local community group Friends of Merlin Woods said that the amenity on the east side of the city is not suitable for residential development.
It has sought clarification on whether the LDA has earmarked part of the recreational and amenity lands for housing, after it appeared on its online database of publicly-owned lands.
In a statement to the Galway City Tribune, the LDA said its database compiles a list of all State lands, not just land for development.
In relation to Merlin Woods, the LDA said: “Those lands aren’t included in the LDA developments in Galway. The lands database is a map-based tool which compiles all State lands and has no reflection on development potential.”
It came after Caroline Stanley of Friends of Merlin Woods raised concern that land within Merlin Woods had been earmarked for development.
“I’d be concerned that it’s marked as residential when it’s in RA (Recreational and Amenity) land. Some is marked ‘open space’ but some is marked as ‘new proposed residential’ on its [LDA’s] database. It makes us wonder why. We’d like clarity and to clear it up.
“The message we’d like to get out there is we need clarification, whether it’s a mistake on the Land Development Agency’s part, or whether it is an area that they consider as a residential area, which the community would be opposed to. We need clarity. It could be something that is in line for development later on, we don’t know, and we need clarity.”
Councillor Owen Hanley explained that the fears around Merlin Woods stem from legislation currently making its way through the Oireachtas that would strip councillors of powers to veto the transfer of land to the LDA for housing projects.
The Bill would also allow Government to direct what public lands – including those owned by local authorities – can be transferred to the LDA for development of social and affordable housing.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.