It has been over two months since floods devastated Clonakilty, closing many businesses and leaving many residents homeless, some who still have not been able to return to their properties.
Businesses that have decided to struggle on have faced enormous financial costs along with an uncertainty of what the future will hold for them if or when such events reoccur.
Residents throughout the town live in constant fear that the nightmare of that night may be repeated in the future and the emotional cost easily compares to the financial woes so many face.
Since that event there has been no meaningful statement of intent to support the people of Clonakilty to ensure such events will not be so costly if they were to happen again.
While an emergency fund was made available for repairs to the homes of those without insurance, these people know that insurance cover is not possible to acquire any time in the future.
The fund made very little impact on the costs occurred by these people and will offer little comfort to what the future holds.
There was no such scheme in place for businesses in the area, many who have since closed due to financial devastation and the properties they occupied are unlikely to be filled due to unavailability of insurance.
When Clonakilty Town Council requested assistance for these people through a government insurance scheme to run alongside the program of works needed for flood relief, the scheme was dismissed as financially unacceptable.
It is a ludicrous statement and a response that shows little respect for the people of Clonakilty.
The Office of Public Works is currently undertaking a study of the area as to draw up the necessary program of works for flood relief.
While this is naturally welcomed the time-frame for this must be significantly shortened and it is only with government intervention and urgency can this hoped to be achieved.
It is also a matter of the greatest urgency that immediate temporary works can be put in place that can offer some protection and peace of mind to businesses and residents alike.
The situation in Clonakilty is extraordinary in its precariousness, and it’s with this in mind I urge the Irish Government to come out and give absolute vocal and financial support to the people of Clonakilty so they may begin to re-build in certainty.
The silence that has come from Leinster House on this issue thus far is not only disappointing but has inflamed the dismay of all Clonakilty citizens.
Confidence is now needed and it is only through speedy and definitive action that that can be restored.
Cllr. Aidan Pendlebury
Clonakilty Labour Party