Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill has visited Lisnaskea to see the impact of the recent heavy rain on farmers and communities in rural Fermanagh.
During her visit, she met with farmers and other rural dwellers in Innishroosk, whose homes have been marooned by flooded roads and farmland. She heard first-hand accounts from residents including Gary McManus who had to take time off from work to care for his elderly mother because their home was cut off leaving her unable to access proper services.
Minister O’Neill said: “I understand how difficult it is for those who live in rural areas to have their lives disrupted by road closures and diversions and for the farmers to see large parts of their land submerged under rain water. Today, I have seen how rising flood water can leave families isolated, the vulnerable without help, communities disrupted, children missing valuable school time and farmers coping with the impact of saturated fields. Everything should be done to ensure their distress is kept to a minimum.
“I have been moved by the resilience demonstrated by our farmers and rural communities. Despite the significant impact of the weather, it is reassuring to see rural people working hard together to help each other deal with the impact of the heavy rain and flooding.
“These communities have been here for generations. They look after the land and the lough. And now, they need to be reassured that they are a priority when weather hits them as hard as it has recently. Government will continue to review its response to the recent flooding as our priority is to make sure people are protected,” Minister O’Neill continued.
The minister commended the multi-agency response to the flooding and added: “I would ask the public to report any flooding incidents to the Flooding Incident Line on 0300 2000 100 which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A member of staff will then contact the appropriate agency on your behalf.”