Top Government officials tackling flood crisis failed to meet up for six years, says watchdog

Another group charged with assessing and managing flood risks allegedly did not meet for four years

Top Government officials who were assigned the task of tackling the flood crises in Ireland did not meet for six years, according to a watchdog.

Inspectors in the Comptroller and Auditor General's office (C&AG) have discovered that the officials in charge of 'flood risk and response' did not meet between 2009 and 2015. Five major incidents of flooding took place in this timeframe, in which two people died and thousands of homes and other properties were destroyed.

The officials in question were part of an oversight body, called the Interdepartmental Co-Ordination Group, which previously met between 2006 and 2009 but did not reconvene until last summer.

Elsewhere, a second group of government officials delegated to assess and manage flood risk, did not meet for four years, until November 2014.

From 2005 to 2014, €329 million was spent on flood defences and research, while another €430 million is projected to be spent over the next six years on similar prevention projects.

The C&AG however, say that money was still being spent without using all the available analysis of flood risks.

"In order to derive maximum value from the limited funds available, it is essential that funding allocation decisions are evidence-based."

'"However, 12 years on from the report of the Flood Policy Review Group and eight years after the EU Floods Directive, substantial capital expenditure continues to be incurred on an annual basis, without the full benefit of the comprehensive analysis and strategic plans."