309. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of applications that have been made under the flood relocation scheme by county; the number that have been successful and refused respectively, by county; and his plans to make changes to the scheme. (Question 16159/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran): On April 11th 2017, the Government agreed the administrative arrangements for a Once-Off Voluntary Homeowners Relocation Scheme for those primary residential properties that flooded during December 4th 2015 to January 13th 2016. This is a national scheme of humanitarian assistance, targeting aid at those worst affected properties, for which there are no alternative feasible measures.

The Government decision confirmed that a homeowner had to meet a number of conditions to be eligible for assistance under this scheme, including:

- That floodwater entered and damaged the building during the relevant dates such as to render it uninhabitable.

- That the property was the homeowners primary residence at the time of the floods.

- That the affected property must have a significant probability of the recurrence of the flood depth, duration or frequency on a scale that could cause further serious and similar damage to the home.

- That the property is not due to or may not benefit from a planned or possible future major, minor or individual flood defence scheme.

- That the property may not be protected adequately from being flooded in the future at an economically feasible cost through other flood mitigation works including minor works, individual property protection or other possible measures that can be considered at this time.

- That the homeowner is unable to obtain flood risk insurance.

The OPW has been working with each of the Local Authorities, using their extensive and detailed local knowledge, to identify the homes that flooded during the event, and of those identified which properties may not benefit from a known or possible engineering solution.

In addition, homeowners also had the opportunity to express an interest to be considered under the scheme, directly with the OPW before July 28th 2017.

The up to date position in relation to properties being considered under this scheme is:

- 74 are currently being investigated for potential remedial works. If works are not deemed viable those homeowners will be contacted individually, in relation to being considered further under this once off scheme.

- 34 homeowners, following a desk based review that may not benefit from an engineering solution have been individually met by the OPW to exchange information on their flooding experience and details of the scheme.

Following these individual meetings, those homeowners deemed to potentially meet the eligibility criteria for the scheme will, in the coming weeks, be invited to apply for a site inspection of their home. This assessment will consider the primary residence against the criteria for the scheme, including if there is a possible localised engineering solution.

There are a small number of other homeowner’s that the OPW is liaising with in relation to their expression of interest.

The OPW has received 9 appeals from homeowners who expressed an interest, but who the OPW concluded their homes did not qualify for the Scheme.

The numbers of homes within the process are changing weekly as the process evolves and as assessments are carried out.

The overall number of homes currently under consideration for the Scheme is relatively low which presents a risk that individual homeowners could be identified by providing data on a County level.