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15th December 2015

The urgent need for the Minister for Defence to amend the criteria of the small business compensation fund to assist businesses, landlords and farmers affected by flooding.
- DEPUTY DENIS NAUGHTEN.

Reply

The Government have approved the allocation of €5m to be distributed as emergency humanitarian support to small businesses, which through no fault of their own have been unable to secure flood insurance and have been flooded recently.

The Irish Red Cross Society have agreed to administer the scheme. The objective of the scheme is to provide a once-off ex-gratia contribution to the costs of damage incurred by those small businesses which were unable to secure flood insurance and were flooded arising from the impact of Storm Desmond within the period 4th December 2015 to 17th December 2015.

The scheme is aimed at providing a contribution to the costs of returning business premises to their pre-flood condition including the replacement of flooring, fixtures and fittings and damaged stock. It only applies to rateable premises that have been flooded and it is intended as an emergency humanitarian assistance contribution rather than compensation for loss or a replacement for the cover provided by insurance.

The emergency nature of the response to the impact of businesses affected by the flooding required a speedy process in order to meet the needs of affected businesses. In this regard a two step approach is being taken, involving an initial application which, if successful will lead to a quick payment which will be capped at €5,000 per property.

It is anticipated that some businesses will have incurred significant damages and will require a more detailed assessment of losses incurred. In these cases a second stage of the scheme will require a more detailed assessment of losses incurred. This will provide the scope for a further payment with the total payment available capped at €20,000. However, this will be a more lengthy process requiring a detailed assessment. The total level of support available for both stages combined will be capped at €20,000.

The criteria for qualification for payment under the scheme are:
(i) Only those small businesses that could not secure flood insurance are eligible.
(ii) For the purpose of this scheme a small business will be defined as one with up to 20 employees.
(iii) The business premises must have been flooded during the period 4th December 2015 and 17th December 2015 and this fact verified by the relevant Local Authority.
(iv) Any location within the State that was flooded during the period in question is encompassed by the scheme.
(v) At the time of the flood, the business must have been trading and in a rateable premises.

Application forms are available on the Irish Red Cross website. This scheme is targeted at trading businesses rather than landlords. It is anticipated that this will address the vast majority of businesses affected. However, where particular circumstances arise, each case will be dealt with on an individual basis.

The emergency scheme does not apply to farmers. Farmers in flooded areas can make contact with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine animal welfare help line at Callsave 076 1064408 or 01 6072379 or Teagasc at 076 1113555.
Paul Kehoe T.D.
Minister of State
at the Department of Defence


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