Muintir na Tíre, the National Association for Community Development, has commended the work carried out by Community groups in the recent flooding crisis. National President, Paddy Byrne, said "much recognition has been given to the work carried out by Emergency Services, and rightly so, as they have often gone beyond the call of duty. However the work carried out by Community Councils, Community Alert Groups and other voluntary community groups should also be recognised."
He continued "these groups provided manpower, day and night, to protect their neighbours, particularly the elderly and the vulnerable. They stacked sandbags, manned pumps, and delivered emergency supplies. This prevented much more damage to life and property."
"Muintir na Tíre Community Councils are well known for their community initiatives such as running community centres, community crèches and other facilities and providing much needed services such as Meals on Wheels, youth services, and many others. However it is when the chips are down in a community that they really come to the fore."
CEO, Niall Garvey also added that Muintir na Tíre has been raising flooding issues for some time now and seeking solutions before the current crisis. He said "early in 2015, Muintir na Tíre launched the Save Rural Ireland initiative, in partnership with several other national bodies."
"One of the first common issues identified by the bodies was that of flooding and its impact on communities. In particular Save Rural Ireland identified the difficulties with insurance cover as being of primary importance to communities. We highlighted the anomaly that the state has spent over €500 million on flood relief works to date producing very successful engineering solutions, yet people are still being refused flood insurance in areas where the problem has been solved."
"We made a number of recommendations to Government, including that the Memorandum of Understanding with the insurance industry be amended to guarantee insurance cover for homes and businesses in areas where flood prevention measures have been completed by the OPW."
"Unfortunately it is now too late for some, but we still hope this will be implemented urgently so that people can continue to live in their homes and businesses can continue to operate. Otherwise communities with any history, or even slight future risk, of flooding, face extinction."