McGlone slams ‘lack of emergency coordination’ during Magherafelt floods

SDLP MLA for Mid-Ulster Patsy McGlone
SDLP MLA for Mid-Ulster Patsy McGlone

SDLP Mid Ulster MLA Patsy McGlone has said that people are angry and deeply frustrated at the total lack of any emergency coordination following floods in Magherafelt last night.

He said: “First of all I want to pay tribute to the outstanding work of the Fire and Rescue Service who were on scene quickly and stayed long into the night ensuring that people were safe during last night’s flooding

“I cannot praise their work highly enough, especially those who rescued two women in Magherafelt in the middle of the dangerous weather.

“Unfortunately the high level of service delivered by our firefighters was not matched in similar terms by other statutory agencies. Throughout the night Roads Service, Rivers Agency and NI Water failed to turn up despite NIFRS staff reporting circumstances as a priority situation.

“Each of the absentee statutory service providers effectively abandoned people in the middle of a flood and left them to fend for themselves. That is an inexcusable failing.

“I was with families who were trying to locate sandbags to protect their homes only to be frustrated by the unavailability of agency staff. This is a major issue which I will be raising with each organisation.

“I will be meeting with these agencies in the coming days to see what measures can be taken to prevent such a situation arising again.

“I was, however, able to speak to Environment Minister Mark H Durkan last night. He confirmed that local councils are empowered to make emergency payments to those who have suffered damage to their homes as a result of these floods.

“I would encourage anyone who may have sustained such damage to get in touch with their local council as soon as possible to begin the process of claiming an emergency payment. If anyone needs any assistance, they can contact my office where we’ll be glad to help.”