Sinn Féin TD John Brady has called on government TDs to support legislation, which he introduced to the Dáil this week at second stage, that is designed to compel the insurance industry to provide homeowners and businesses with insurance cover in flood-affected areas where flood relief schemes have been undertaken by the Office of Public Works.
This would provide one in one hundred years or more protection against flooding. A 2021 report from Gamma Location services identified some 70,000 homes in Ireland at risk of flooding, which could result in an estimated cost of approximately €2 billion.
Despite the urgent need for the matter to be addressed, the government introduced an amendment to put a time-delay on the introduction of the Bill for 12 months. A vote will take place in the Dáil next Wednesday.
Teachta Brady said:
“Once again, the government has employed their favoured tactic of using their numbers in the Dáil to prevent the Oireachtas from introducing necessary legislation by kicking another piece of legislation down the road. This is a tactic that we are witnessing the government employ repeatedly in the house.
“Rather than engage with an issue on its merits and on its potential to impact in a positive manner on a very real issue that is impacting on the lives of thousands of home and business owners, the government has chosen to attempt to smother this legislation.
“This legislation is designed to serve the public good. It acknowledges the efforts undertaken by the Office of Public Works in carrying out flood relief schemes to protect homes.
“It is intended to provide protection against discrimination by the insurance industry by the thousands of people who have been impacted by flood disaster in this state, but who are living in areas where the risk of flooding has now been reduced to one of one in one hundred years or better through the completion of remedial works.
“During the debate, Minister Jennifer Carroll MacNeill referenced a survey carried out last April by Insurance Ireland with a pilot group of three schemes in my own town of Bray, Fermoy South and the Dodder Areas.
“Preliminary results suggest that 19% of the insurance policies of those surveyed did not include flood cover, which is totally unacceptable.
“Separately, 80% of areas across the state regarded as being of primary flood risk have been assessed under the Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management Programme. Which found that 95% can be protected. Which provides scope for an additional 150 flood relief schemes.
“This clearly shows that properties can be protected, that the Insurance companies are in the wrong and that they need to be called out. We need legislation to compel to fulfil their obligations and provide the necessary homes and businesses in the areas in which relief work has been completed.
“I call on all deputies, but particularly those in government, to stand with those who have fallen foul of the greed of the insurance industries who are being allowed to get away with the willful discrimination of homeowners and businesses by denying them their right to insurance cover.”