Families, farmers and businesses are still receiving Government help after the Donegal floods, the Government Chief Whip has said.
Deputy Joe McHugh was reacting after Fianna Fáil Deputy Charlie McConalogue raised the issue in the Dail.
The Inishowen TD said he was urging the Government to “get to grips” with the flooding issue.
However, Deputy McHugh has said that many people may be surprised to see that Fianna Fail are seeking to turn their plight into a ‘political row.’
Minister McHugh said: “The Department of Social Protection has provided emergency cash payments to 140 applicants at Stage 1 of the humanitarian assistance process.
“Since then 28 families have received Stage 2 payments with another 22 payments pending for items like electrical goods and furniture.
“So far two payments are pending under Stage 3 of the assistance scheme – which is a longer-term payment to help with things like re-wiring and plastering.
“Under the Red Cross Scheme introduced by the Department of Defence so far 29 small business forms have been received and 13 businesses have been paid the initial €5,000.
“Six of the applications are with Donegal County Council, four are to be processed by the IRC, two were rejected due to the presence of insurance while four are awaiting additional information.
“A total of two Volunteer/Community/Sporting club forms were received and both have been paid the initial €5,000.”
Minister McHugh continued: “Dozens of bridges and roads were washed away. We visited homes flooded by water, sewage and domestic heating oil – homes built on a flood plain during to so-called Celtic Tiger boom of the early 2000s. Another mess left by Fianna Fail for this Government to clean up.
“Families are being helped. I have visited those affected and many are surprised that Fianna Fail are seeking to turn their plight into a political row.
“Farmers too are being helped; a scheme to help them has been launched with a closing date of this Friday so that the Department of Agriculture can begin to process payments. Other assessments are ongoing.
“Our response across all sectors of life in north Donegal has been speedy. It hasn’t stopped though. It will be take many months, even years, before all the damaged infrastructure is put in place – dozens of bridges and roads need replaced; with damage recorded at more than 500 locations.
“At all times during those first few hours and in the days and weeks afterwards Ministers across Government and officials in all Departments of Government worked tirelessly to ensure the response was quick and effective. The OPW, the Department of Transport and other departments continue to assess long term measures. I want to again pay tribute to Donegal County Council staff and personnel from Government departments who continue their work on behalf of those affected by the flood. The focus of this Government is continuing on a daily basis and will continue in the months ahead.
“I remain thankful there was no loss of life, due in no small measure to the heroism of local people and the support given by the emergency services,” Minister McHugh concluded.