Evacuation in Mountmellick. Pic Kevin Byrne
Laois Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley has praised the work of emergency services in Mountmellick but said flooding prevention measures also needs investment but promises to deliver the cash needed have never been delivered.
The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Climate Action and the Environment Brian Stanley TD visited the scene on Monday where he met with those involved in responding to the disaster.
“There needs to be a greater concentration on maintenance of the Owenass and Barrow rivers. The Barrow Drainage Board was abolished three years ago they also maintained at the time the Owenass which runs through the town. Locals have told me that trees and other debris were floating in parts of the Owenass yesterday," he sid.
He claimed that there has been years of false promises from successive Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments on a new drainage scheme that is he believes "long overdue".
"Some residents received a letter as far back as 2007 from TD’s saying that €12 million had been approved for new drainage and sewage schemes," he said.
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“While this may not have prevented all the current damage, these measures would alleviate much of the flooding. I am now calling on action on both of these fronts.
“Today I saw the great work of the emergency services, including Laois Civil Defence and Laois County Council and I want to commend them for their efforts. There are many elderly residents in particular that have been affected and need all help available," he said.
The Laois TD said he would continue to pursue these issues until action is taken.