Belfast Telegraph

Taoiseach pledges funds to help small businesses damaged by Storm Desmond

Five million euro is being made available to provide assistance for small businesses damaged by the weekend floods, the Taoiseach has said.

Enda Kenny said measures would also be taken to help farmers whose lands have been waterlogged.

Mr Kenny told the Dail a 10 million euro pot established for flood victims in 2012, but not utilised, would be accessible by householders whose properties were damaged in the recent deluge.

But the Taoiseach warned that floods triggered by Storm Desmond may not be over and predicted further episodes in the days ahead, amid continuing high water levels and a forecast of more rain and storms.

Mr Kenny also expressed sympathy with the family of Co Tyrone showband singer Ivan Vaughan (70), who died when his car was engulfed in floods in Co Monaghan on Sunday night.

During leaders' questions in the Dail, Mr Kenny said: "There are a number of actions that have been taken immediately.

"For homes that are affected the Department of Social Protection have a humanitarian fund of 10 million (euro) which was sanctioned by the Government back in 2012, but not drawn down, which is available for emergency assistance and will be deployed."

He added: "For businesses in towns affected at the weekend the Government has allocated five million (euro) this morning to be distributed as emergency assistance to small businesses who through no fault of their own have suffered flood damage and have not been able to take out flood insurance."

Mr Kenny said the Department of Agriculture would take a number of measures, including support with the movement of animals from flooded lands and the removal of slurry from flooded tanks.

He added: "Further episodes of rain and wind are forecast and there may well be further instances and episodes of flooding and experience indicates that waters will not recede for days, in many (cases) weeks, and indeed months in some cases."

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin claimed the Government's response to the flooding issue was not strong enough.

"I would say, Taoiseach, this needs to be dramatically upgraded in terms of priority," he said.

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