This article was added by the user . TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.

Midleton flood relief scheme must be rolled out with wider land use plans, says Varadkar

Relief schemes for Midleton and other flood-prone areas will have to be rolled out in tandem with wider land use plans, the Taoiseach has said.

The Government will push to bring a flood prevention scheme for Midleton to planning next year, Leo Varadkar said, but he warned that there is no guarantee the infrastructure will be in place before another flooding incident in the Co Cork town.

Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns called for the installation of natural flood defences in tandem with necessary engineering solutions as she suggested that some of the schemes already in place have simply pushed the problem downstream.

"Ditches, culverts, hedgerows, and tree cover have been removed, peat bogs have been drained, and poorly planned concrete flood defences have been installed. All of these simply push flooding downstream at top speed. Restoring these natural flood defences, which help the land store water and slow the course of rivers upstream, is absolutely essential if we want to minimise the risk of flood damage," she said.

Responding, Mr Varakdar said he agrees that there has to be a greater focus on adaption as part of climate action.

"We have to look at this in the round. It is not just about flood barriers. We have to consider the impact inappropriate land use can have on flooding and drainage, as well as coastal protections."

OPW Minister Patrick O'Donovan met with Cork County Council on flood relief schemes on Tuesday and brought a memo on coastal issues to Cabinet this week.

'Huge damage'

Mr Varadkar, who visited Midleton last week, said he had "seen a lot of flood damage in my time, but this at a different scale.

"The floodwaters were up to my arm. It was not just water. There was dirt, mud, and sewage. A huge amount of damage was done," he told the Dáil.

Separately, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald hit out at the Government decision to "drastically underfund the health service in budget 2024".

She said the health service is already under enormous pressure, with record treatment waiting lists, a year-round trolley emergency, and an ever-worsening recruitment and retention crisis.

"Against that backdrop, the Government chose, with its eyes wide open, to blow a massive €1.3 billion hole in funding for the health services people rely on. "

Defending next year's funding allocation for Health Mr Varadkar said the budget for 2024 is the biggest ever, at €22.5 billion.

"To put that in perspective, it is more than €4,000 for every man, woman, and child in the State going to the HSE."