Taoiseach says it is "extraordinary" nobody was killed in Donegal floods

Leo Varadkar is assessing damage following severe floods

Taoiseach says it is "extraordinary" nobody was killed in Donegal floods

A collapsed road at Quigley's Point in County Donegal after heavy rain left a trail of destruction. Picture by: Niall Carson/PA Wire/PA Images

Updated 21.10

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is in Co Donegal to see the damage caused by devastating flooding this week.

Government departments met earlier and Donegal County Council has been told that whatever funding is required will be provided.

Up to 500 homes have been damaged in the north-west this week.

But the cost of the clean-up operation will not be known until the full extent of the destruction has been assessed.

Members of the 28th Infantry Battalion assist in the clean-up operation in Donegal | Image via @defenceforces on Twitter

Speaking in Donegal to Independent.ie, Mr Varadkar said: "I suppose I wanted to come and visit myself just to see the scale of the damage, and meet some of the people - the residential homeowners and business people - who've been affected.

"I think you have to see it to understand the scale of the damage that's been done.

"What really occurs to me is it's just extraordinary that nobody was killed or seriously injured.

"I think we were blessed.... that nobody was injured or killed.

"The key thing now of course is the clean-up, and the clean-up is well underway".

An initial platoon of 30 Defence Forces personnel arrived in the county this morning to assist with operations.

It comes as a weather warning remains in place for Donegal until 6.00pm, with further rain forecast.

It has been announced that the Red Cross will administer a flood relief scheme for small businesses affected by the flooding.

The Defence Forces say 35 members of the 28th Infantry Battalion were deployed.

Personnel are operating in three separate locations including Buncrana, Burnfoot, and Carndonagh.

In Buncrana and Burnfoot they are providing mobility and manpower to local authorities.

Members of the 28th Infantry Battalion assist in the clean-up operation in Donegal | Image via @defenceforces on Twitter

In Carndonagh, Defence Forces personnel are bolstering water defences.

The Air Corps have also flown an air reconnaissance mission over Burnfoot, Buncrana and Cardonagh to inspect the area of operations.

This followed a request from Donegal County Council.

The Government has already announced immediate humanitarian assistance for families and individuals affected.

Kevin Boxer Moran, Junior Minister with Responsibility for Flooding, says affected residents will get grants to help with the cost of the damage.

Members of the 28th Infantry Battalion assist in the clean-up operation in Donegal | Image: Flickr/Irish Defence Forces

He described it as a "positive step from Government - a positive step to the people of Donegal".

He also pleaded with insurance companies to not 'blacklist' areas after what he described as a once-in-a-century event.

"Washed away and destroyed"

In a statement announcing the Red Cross relief scheme, Government Chief Whip Joe McHugh said: "Tsunamis are associated with catastrophic sea surges but what happened in Donegal earlier this week was similar; it was a tsunami from the skies which dropped millions of tonnes of water directly into the heart of communities.

"I visited farmers in north Inishowen who cannot find their livestock. I also saw acre upon acre of potato and grain crops around St Johnston washed away and destroyed. I have spoken to Agriculture Minister Michael Creed about the losses being faced and the assistance required."

 

Minister McHugh stressed that the 'true scale' of losses has yet to be assessed.

 

Additional reporting: Jack Quann