Minister meets with flood-affected in Galway and Mayo

Simon Harris says he is travelling in solidarity with the victims

Meetings with the Office of Public Works are taking place today to discuss and assess damage caused by recent flooding in counties Galway and Mayo.

The Junior Minister at the Office of Public Works, Simon Harris, will today visit Ballinasloe and Crossmolina where he will speak to local business people and householders whose homes were destroyed.

Relief funding has been made available to small business owners and also to people whose homes have been damaged in the flooding.

Minister Harris says flood defences will be discussed during today's meetings:

"I know that in Ballinsloe, Galway County Council have sought some funding to carry out some mitigation measures and I hope to be in a position to advance that.

And I know in Mayo the community are hoping that we could carry out some maintenance work along the river in Crossmolina, and I hope to be in a position to advance that.

First I want to listen to the residents, I want to listen to the business people and I want to take it from there". 

Those affected

Businessman and local Councillor Michael Loftus from Co Mayo told Newstalk Breakfast about just one of the flood victims he knows, a woman (92), who has been forced into nursing home accommodation by the floods:

"She is out of her house until March. That lady will have to go to a nursing home. That is one of the issues that has arisen in recent days. It is hard for that lady to be out of her environment, in a hospital environment where she would normally have been at home for Christmas".

Meanwhile, two weather warnings for wind and rain that were in place overnight have now come to an end.

Christmas planning

Elsewhere, plans are being made to deal with any potential flooding over Christmas.

Westmeath County Council says it expects water levels in the Shannon to rise between now and St Stephens Day - but it does not expect them to reach the peak levels recorded last week.

The inter-agency Flood Response Coordination Group will meet again tomorrow, to make arrangements for the Christmas period.