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Saturday 2 December 2023 Dublin: 2°C
GUILEEN COAST GUARD The extent of the flooding in Midleton last week was captured in aerial photographs.
storm babet

Government may increase money available to businesses damaged by flooding, Eamon Ryan says

Under a current scheme, businesses affected by flooding can avail of up to €20,000 for damage to their premises.

THE GOVERNMENT WILL consider increasing the level of funding available to businesses affected by severe flooding during Storm Babet last week, Eamon Ryan has said.

The Green Party leader and Minister for the Environment said the government needs to be “flexible” as it assesses the “scale of damage” in towns such as Midleton in county Cork.

Under a current scheme, businesses affected by flooding can avail of up to €20,000 for damage to their premises – but many incurred losses greater than this figure.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1′s This Week today, Ryan said he and his government colleagues will “consider that on Tuesday at Cabinet”.

“We have existing schemes we can use. I think we have to be careful that we don’t try and reinvent the wheel here. A lot of businesses will want support quickly.

“There are businesses in other towns around the country where we have been able to provide that support. So we will do [that here too].

“The exact level of funding is something that will only be worked out in the coming weeks as we see the scale of the problem.”

A report in the Business Post today said the €20,000 figure may be doubled to €40,000. When asked about this, Ryan would not be drawn on exact figures.

“I don’t want to speculate in advance of Cabinet. Obviously Minister Simon Coveney will have a lead responsibility as Minister of Enterprise, but we work collectively,” he said. 

“We will listen on Tuesday and get the latest update on the scale of damage. It was very significant in Middleton – 200 homes, as well as all those businesses on Main Street, [were flooded] so I think we have to look at both housing and the other businesses, and supply the support we can.”

During the week, locals in Midleton criticised the level of support they have received from the government.

‘No strict limit’

Echoing comments made by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Micheál Martin during the week, Ryan said the government will “have to be flexible” in its response, adding that there “shouldn’t be a strict limit” on the funding available to people.

“I think we have to wait [for the Cabinet meeting] so we can actually get the advice from the experts, find out in detail what’s the scale of support needed, and then make the call on it.”

During his keynote speech at the Green Party annual conference in Cork yesterday evening, Ryan spoke about efforts to help restore the houses and business premises flooded during Storm Babet.

“Our hearts go out to anyone whose house or premise went under water. We will have to redouble our efforts to get them back in shape and then prepare for the more extreme weather events we know are to come.

“Climate change is scary. Especially this year when we have seen our weather systems across the world spinning off the dial,” he said.

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