The 'scenes of utter devastation’ in Inishowen which have badly affected families, businesses, voluntary groups and sporting organisations will require a special emergency fund, according to Donegal minister, Joe McHugh.
The Minister was speaking after he was joined by Government Ministers Shane Ross and Longford/Westmeath's Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran last night (Wednesday) in visiting some of those affected by the freak weather event on Tuesday night.
I believe it is now appropriate to consider bringing in the Defence Forces to assist the local authority in the cleanup in Donegal pic.twitter.com/xUsDqoNLaf— Kevin 'Boxer' Moran (@kevinboxermoran) August 24, 2017
The three Ministers visited homes in Burnfoot where families have lost everything in the flood waters.
They also joined council officials in visiting roads and bridges destroyed in the floods. They also paid a visit to the Red Cross centre in Muff which has lost vital life-saving equipment.
After visiting families in Buncrana, Bridgend and Burnfoot, Minister McHugh said: “Family homes have been destroyed in the flood waters and the affects on homeowners is devastating.
“Working along with Government colleagues Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran and Shane Ross, it is essential that an emergency aid package is put together so we can help families rebuild their lives and so that bridges and roads washed away in the floods are restored as soon as possible.
“We have heard incredible stories of neighbours saving neighbours at the height of the floods. It is a miracle that no lives were lost during this weather event.
“It is clear now that six major bridges and roads need to be repaired so that, for example, people can travel from Moville to Muff. There are a number of other areas where people have been cut off and access needs to be restored as soon as possible.
“Donegal County Council staff have worked tirelessly to find emergency accommodation for those who need it and we need to look at how we protect homes in the future. Ministers Moran, Ross and I will be working together to seek an emergency fund to deal with all these issues in the days ahead.”
Minister Moran said: “It is devastating to see someone’s house destroyed by water and I have witnessed this again in homes in Inishowen.
“People lose valued possessions and lose all the work they have put in to making their houses homes for their families.
“It is essential now that an emergency Government package is put together so that people can return to some semblance of normality over the next few weeks.
“As the Minister at the Office of Public Works it is also essential that we examine how we can prevent a repeat of the devastation caused by Tuesday night’s flood. We will have an initial picture over the next few days from Donegal County Council on the damage caused and the repairs needed.
"It could take a bit longer to get a final assessment and I'm assured by council staff that they will work hard over the coming days and weeks to assess all the damage caused in the area."
The Ministers said they wanted to pay tribute to council staff, volunteers and neighbours who did so much work on Wednesday to minimise damage and help with the clean-up.
Ministers McHugh and Moran will meet councillors and council staff in Carndonagh this morning.
They are also due to visit more homes and businesses on the peninsula which were hit by flood waters.