Minister's vow to tackle flooding
Published 17/10/2011 | 17:02
Work is under way to ease the problems of flooding that has hit parts of Northern Ireland following torrential rain, the Agriculture Minister said.
Some of the worst hit areas were in counties Antrim, Fermanagh and Tyrone, but Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill said investigations had started into identifying potential causes.
Responding to a question in the Assembly, the minister said the issue of compensation for people whose homes were damaged had yet to be discussed.
The SDLP's Joe Byrne was among MLAs who raised the flooding. He asked what preparations had been made by the Rivers Agency to make sandbags available in the event of further flooding, and what compensation may be open to the owners of damaged properties.
Ms O'Neill said: "Yesterday Rivers Agency deployed 5,500 sandbags, so obviously we were equipped to deal with what happened yesterday. So I don't think that there is an identified problem there.
"In relation to compensation, it is not something that I considered yesterday. We are still basically cleaning-up from what happened yesterday and having full investigations into the problems.
"And then hopefully, where possible, we can identify programmes of improvement that we can take forward. But compensation is not something that is within the remit of Rivers Agency itself."
The minister detailed plans for tackling flooding which had been implemented following a taskforce report on the issue.
Her comments came after firefighters rescued a 77-year-old woman from Edenduff Terrace in Antrim shortly before 3pm on Monday. She had become trapped in her terraced home but was carried to safety, the Fire Service said.
Police also warned motorists to exercise extreme caution when driving in Fermanagh and Tyrone due to surface water and flooding.