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€10m fund to relocate 25 homeowners plagued by flooding

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Minister Patrick O’Donovan

Minister Patrick O’Donovan

Minister Patrick O’Donovan

Twennty-five households have been offered financial help by the Government to move as their homes are in areas highly prone to flooding.

The Office of Public Works (OPW) said the cost of the once-off voluntary relocation scheme, which was introduced in 2017 following flooding the previous winter, would be around €10m.

Figures provided in a briefing document for the new Minister of State with responsibility for the OPW, Patrick O'Donovan, show a total of 169 properties were identified by local authorities around the country as being potentially eligible for the scheme.

However, only 25 homeowners have been offered relocation assistance, while eight other families are having their applications assessed.

The OPW said engineering solutions to protect properties had been identified in 35 cases, while ongoing work with local authorities to explore if there were possible engineering solutions to lower the risk of flooding was continuing in relation to 23 properties.

Uninhabitable

A total of 73 homes were deemed ineligible for the scheme.

"This is a scheme of humanitarian assistance and provides funding to homeowners equivalent to the cost to their respective local authority for buying and building a home of similar size," the OPW said.

It said the scheme was targeted at properties that were worst affected by floods that occurred between December 4, 2015 and January 13, 2016, for which there were no alternative feasible measures.

To be eligible, properties had to have been rendered uninhabitable as a result of flooding between those dates and had to be the homeowner's primary residence.

Affected individuals also had to be unable to obtain flood risk insurance.

The OPW declined to state the location of the successful applicants for the scheme, given the low numbers involved, as it presented a risk that individual homeowners could be identified.

It is understood some are in the lower Shannon region, which is one of the worse affected areas from flooding during severe weather events.