Taoiseach confirms €5m emergency fund for firms affected by flooding

There is a warning that flooding may continue until Friday or Saturday

Storm Desmond, flood, weather, Taoiseach, Cabinet, Minister, funding, emergency, Enda Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the official launch of Ireland's Innovation Strategy Innovation 2020 | Image: RollingNews.ie

The Taoiseach Enda Kenny has confirmed an emergency fund for small businesses that have suffered flood damage and were unable to get insurance.

The €5m fund is to be administered by the Red Cross, and applications will be considered in the coming days.

This is on top of a fund for homeowners who need help.

Mr Kenny has also warned that further flooding is likely in the days ahead - as levels on the River Shannon continue to rise.

And he says it could take some time for flood water to clear.

While the National Emergency Co-Ordination Group is warning it will be Friday or Saturday before the flooding threat is over.

The group met this morning, and there has been a drop in the points of concern from 22 to 15 - in some areas - especially along the River Shannon.

But it says the worst could be yet to come.

Met Éireann says there will be a further 10 to 15 millimetres of rain today and a further 20 millimetres tonight - but there Is no evidence of any further storms.

The chair of the emergency taskforce is Seán Hogan.

Meanwhile local authorities in Clare, Limerick and Westmeath are warning of further rising floodwaters.

Westmeath County Council says it is possible water levels in the Athlone area may approach the levels recorded in 2009 later this week.

Over the last 24 hours the level has increased by around 100 millimetres.

The county council has activated its Flood Emergency Response Plan and its Interagency Response Committee has decided to request assistance from the Defence Forces and civil defence.

Meanwhile, the ESB is warning of increased floodwaters in Clare and Limerick as the power company has been forced to release massive amounts of water from Parteen Weir after Storm Desmond.

The local authorities say they are continuing to liaise with the ESB, gardaí and local property owners in the affected areas.

Bernardine Maloney is the head of communications with the ESB.

And a yellow wind warning for Ireland remains in place.

It says south to southwest winds will reach mean speeds greater than 45 km/h and up to 65 km/h - with gusts up to 100 km/h possible.

Elsewhere, Storm Desmond claimed its first Irish victim after the body of a pensioner swept away in a flood was found in County Monaghan.