Urgent Oral Question: Agriculture and Rural Development Monday 11 January 2016

Agriculture Minister, Michelle O’Neill, answered an urgent oral question on the impact of the recent severe flooding across Northern Ireland during today’s Question Time. The three storms in December, along with heavy rainfall, has seen 30 properties experience flooding.

The response to the recent events has been a multi-agency approach. DARD continues to discharge lead government Department (LGD) responsibilities, particularly in providing support and expertise, as defined in the framework for coordination of flooding emergencies. “The main concern at present is the water levels of Upper Lough Erne and Lough Neagh. Multi-agency coordination remains on high alert. However, the regional conference calls have been discontinued for now. Staff continue to check grilles, monitor water levels and ensure that pumps are kept running.”

Once weather conditions improve, an overall review of the response to the flooding experienced in the past two months will be carried out. The weather is forecast to become colder over the next few days, with less rain, and that will allow levels in the loughs to reduce further. They will, however, remain high, and Rivers Agency will continue to be on high alert.