Ministers and officials meet

BBC News reports that:

“An emergency meeting has taken place at Stormont between ministers and relevant agencies in the aftermath of Saturday’s flooding.”

Environment minister Sammy Wilson confirmed there would be a compensation scheme for flood victims:

“those affected could expect to receive around £1,000 in compensation, but the figure has yet to be finalised. Councils will be notified of the scheme on Monday so that people will be able to make applications,”

UPDATE Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy says agencies had been preparing for floods:

“…the relevant agencies met on Friday after receiving weather warnings. As a result Northern Ireland Water was able to deploy resources and contractors throughout the event and around the clock,”

Although preparation was not his party colleague, John O’Dowd’s experience (or Tom Hartley’s):

“They were overwhelmed themselves and there didn’t appear to be any coordination at all.”

  • on what basis?

    I don’t mean to sound callous, but on what is the rationale behind giving people money in this situation? Isn’t insurance against flooding the norm in the rest of the world? I mean.. it’s not the first time this has happened, now will it be the last..

  • circles

    The first time that this dubious payment scheme came into effect was when East Belfast MLA and Finance Minister, Peter Robinson, distributed this money to the unfortunate victims of flooding in err… East Belfast-strange that…

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    I’d say it stops those who get washed out from screaming too loudly on TV as our local politicians display their collective incompetence.

    Still, I see they went to see the new Broadway Baths. I like it when they get hard hats and wellies on, it would certainly boost my confidence if I was knew high in flood water in my living room.

  • Rory

    Please stop attacking Sammy Wilson. I just remembered leaving an oul’ pair o’ gutties under the steps in 1957 and my sister has just telephoned to say that they have been flood damaged beyond salvage.

    I am looking forward to receiving my £1,000 which should just about cover the cost of a suitably distressed retro replacement from an appropriate designer store in Covent Garden.

    I am glad to see that at least some government departments are working at last.

  • waffler

    must get worse by all accounts as the bearded one was seen coming out of B&Q;WITH WELLIES AND PLASTERING STILTS

  • cynic

    Waffler

    . … are you suggesting that he was warned in advance? By Government? Alex Reid? Even Higher Authority?

    …. was there collusion?

    …. what are plastering stilts?

    But anyway, to get back to the point. I agree on the issue of why is the Executive doling out money like this. Furthermore has Sammy consulted some of his fundamentalist party colleagues on the very principle of this. Arlene, Mervyn Storey and Iris all appear to adhere rigidly to Biblical truth and Creationist Theory and in that context global warming and its impact is to perhaps be welcomed as the Lord’s work:

    http://www.landoverbaptist.org/2008/april/conservationsin.html

  • The Raven

    Actually, I’d like to introduce a new concept here. The Beeb is reporting that Conor is ordering an “investigation” into why the pumping station at the site failed.

    Let’s try something new. Instead of paying money into the investigation, let’s make it less of an investigation, and more of a “right, the pumping station failed – we’re gonna need a bigger pump”.

    Let’s NOT have a committee meeting where senior civil servants are castigated by failing politicians; let’s not have a “the BBC can today reveal…” report in a month’s time.

    Let’s get this problem sorted, today, or this week, here and now. Some money towards those inconvenienced by the flooding annoying some of you? I say fuck it – pay them and then either during or immediately afterwards, do the math, fix the pumping station and get on with it.

    Or would fixing the problem leave so many on this site fuck all to complain about…?

  • cynic

    Interesting little side comment.

    In the Press Release praising the early opening

    http://www.roadsni.gov.uk/newsDetails.htm?newsRef=864

    the Department and contractors stated that

    “The decision to realign the Clowney River to the South of the underpass rather than integrate it into the roof slab has been a major factor in allowing us to reprogramme the work to finish this part early.”

    So at some stage the decision on the Clowney river seems to have changed. Rather than culvert it through the development it was moved off to one side.

    We are told that today it was the Clowney River that caused the problem when it burst its banks. Of course hindsight is cheap and there may be no connection at all between these events. Indeed, flooding the road may have saved nearby houses but the post mortem on what went wrong will be interesting, not least for those who lost their vehicles under 20 ft of water in the underpass.

  • cynic

    “I say fuck it – pay them and then either during or immediately afterwards, do the math, fix the pumping station and get on with it”

    Ok Raven, so what else do we compensate people for? And do we pay out even when they have insurance and don’t need it?

    There are already mechanisms in Social Services that could be used to help those really in need in emergencies but, of course, that’s a different Department and budget controlled by a different Minister!

    And in the very end, after we fix it, whose Granny’s Home Help do we axe to pay for the unnecessary expenditure then? What school do we close or what special needs child don’t we give help to?

    It’s not an issue about helping those in need. It’s about taking hard choices and avoiding a culture of quick political fixes. It’s about good Government.

    I don’t blame Sammy for this. The precedent was set last time by the now First Minister so what could he do.

  • joeCanuck

    hindsight is cheap

    That’s a key point. FFS, the design engineers did their best but you cannot cover every possibility. It would be prohibitively expensive and probably unwarranted. The actual conditions that occurred exceeded the design paramters. Live with it. Fix the damage and get on with it. People who didn’t take out flood insurance should get emergency help but all of their expenses shouldn’t be covered.

  • Comrade Stalin

    not least for those who lost their vehicles under 20 ft of water in the underpass.

    You *do* have to ask how they got into that scenario. The 30ft of water did not miraculously appear just as they were passing through. There are a lot of stupid people out there.

  • cynic

    Comrade

    I have more sympathy with them. Its a steep drop into the underpass and with the rain and amber lights you might easily think it was shallow groundwater until you found the car floating!

    Joe

    On the design issue I agree but lets hope its not a design fault or fixing it may be expensive. On the other hand if the underpass hadn’t flooded all that water would have gone somewhere, possibly in the St James’s area, so what happened may have been the best solution.

  • Mack

    I want to congratulate the Env Minister for making available up to £1000 for people who have been washed out during the heavy rain and floods across Northern Ireland. It proves that the Government is working for the people and that the DUP is ensuring that people get some compensation at a time when their houses are being washed out.

  • on what basis?

    Mack: “and that the DUP is ensuring that people get some compensation at a time when their houses are being washed out.”

    Of course this is true. But I just want to know why you think it is appropriate. Insurance is fully adequate for this. The only thing I can think of is that a tiny minority have a strong need to get help in the short term. But I don’t see this being evidenced, nor do I see much limitation. At the very least it should be done on the basis of a loan.

    Raven- you’re being a bit of a cock. Saying “or would fixing the problem leave so many on this site fuck all to complain about…?” sounds like an interesting point.. but when did anyone suggest anything other.

  • Moochin Photoman

    Rory

    You can save your flight money to Covent garden to get your retro trainers as you’ll be able to get them in the Victoria Centre at around the same price and spend your savings on retro laces to complete the look!

  • cynic

    Will a £1000 buy you a pair of trainers there?

  • Mark Simpson

    A caller on the Nolan show (with Denis Murray) this morning was complaining that the £1000 hell get because his house was flooded would only just buy a new TV.

    “So won’t your insurance cover the cost of repairs?”

    “No I’m not insured”.

    Well whose fault is that and why are you getting £1000 of taxpayers money then? Does this new form of compensation go on for ever?

  • The Raven

    Folks the amount of compensation paid out will be a drop, so to speak, in the ocean.

    “Raven- you’re being a bit of a cock. Saying “or would fixing the problem leave so many on this site fuck all to complain about…?” sounds like an interesting point.. but when did anyone suggest anything other.”

    Check out some of the previous threads when this last happened. You’d think that some people were almost jealous of others having their house flooded. Naturally, those flooded are probably just chavs, undeserving of any assistance. I may well be a bit of a cock on that point, but my own original point still stands – let’s concentrate on getting the infrastructure right. Time for decisions, and not long-winded autopsies of what went wrong.

    I accept everyone’s point about being insured/not insured. However, cynic wrote: “And in the very end, after we fix it, whose Granny’s Home Help do we axe to pay for the unnecessary expenditure then? What school do we close or what special needs child don’t we give help to?”

    I suppose you would expect the same limitations to be placed on home heating payments in an exceptionally cold winter…? Or any of those payments which are made under the Welfare state without means-testing..?

  • Moochin Photoman

    Having a few mins spare at lunchtime i had a quick look through the Victoria Centre and the most expensive pair of trainers that i found were a pair of Dior Homme for £275, didn’t see any retro Stan Smiths but the next most expensive were a pair of Gucci trainers at £250.
    There were a few bargains to be had as it seemed that every shop had sales on.

  • cynic

    “Folks the amount of compensation paid out will be a drop, so to speak, in the ocean.

    I suppose you would expect the same limitations to be placed on home heating payments in an exceptionally cold winter…? Or any of those payments which are made under the Welfare state without means-testing..?”

    Raven

    This money isnt picked off some money tree somewhere. If money is wasted in this way it isn’t available for other things.

    And when those poor souls who are flooded out claim on the insurance, question 1 will be – did you get a grant? Yes, right, knock that off the claim. So in all those cases the £1000 is ultimately benefiting big corporations, not the victims.

  • The Raven

    “If money is wasted in this way it isn’t available for other things.”

    Again, I say, it is a drop in the ocean. Again, I ask, do you expect the same standards applied to the non-means-tested, open-to-all-the-senior-citizens, extra payments that are made in times of cold weather? Or indeed Child Benefit?

    I won’t be benefitting from it – but I’ll be bloody glad if it’s there any time I may have to.

  • waffler

    . local authorities are compelled to grant immediate aid through various European charters etc.
    For example should a tenant who pays rent to a housing assoc or landlord be left without essential services i.e. electricity or water exceeding specific time periods, their right as a citizen of the EC entitles them to claim compensation from dwelling owners under the tenants charter and where necessary alternative accommodation etc.
    In addition just try getting insurance companies to commit themselves until water levels have subsided. After all the new £1000.00 TV is best left at the shop until supplies are restored.
    As for anyone qualifying for this aid I’m sure they `ll tell you they’d much rather not get the flood in the first place. I know that’s my choice hands down.

  • Lazer

    I think that if the government is insisting on paying out this premium then to make sure this benefits the people who have been sensible and taken out home insurance, then they should also get a grant to at least cover part of the cost of their insurance premium.

    (Although I dont think handing out money ever helps – more practical help would probably be more appropriate)