THE human side of the new-year storms, which caused extensive damage along the coast, has been neglected, according to a group representing 15 households in West Clare.
At a meeting last week, Michael Neenan was elected chairman of the Clohaninchy Action Committee. He wants to see some protection in place for people in vulnerable areas on the coast.
“The 15 houses that were under threat, nothing has been done for them. There is no emergency funding coming for the protection of their homes in particular,” he said.
Mr Neenan said while Clare County Council has been very supportive in relation to the clean-up in the area, not enough has been done for the people worst affected. “The human side of all this has been neglected,” he said.
“The council did a lot of work on the piers and prom in Lahinch and so on but no work has been done for the families and people in the 15 houses yet – that would be my concern. The council has been very good. We have seven skips of rubbish that washed up here from the sea; we did a massive clean-up.
“The council was very good and provided the skips but the council can only do so much,” he added.
One family in the area remain in temporary accommodation, after their home was flooded earlier this month.
“I don’t think they will be back in until there is something done to protect them from the next high tide, which is in February and that could be up to 5.9m. Minister Brian Hayes was on the radio saying he needed more detail on what was required and the deadline for this was by February 20 but there will have been another high tide by then. We need emergency funding now so people can be protected and get back into their homes,” he concluded.
Speaking in the Seanad on Wednesday, Fine Gael Senator Martin Conway expressed his “disappointment” that emergency funding was not provided for the families in the Cloughinichy/Seafield area.
He asked that the relevant departments be asked to provide funding to Clare County Council “to immediately secure those family homes”.
“I believe that an application needs to be made to the European Solidarity Fund and other European funds, European structural funds and so on, to ensure that proper defence mechanisms are put in place in the next year or two to ensure that this type of devastation doesn’t happen again, not just for public property but also for private property. We cannot discriminate between private and public property because, at the end of the day, the private property is owned by people who are citizens of this country and who pay tax in this country,” he added.