Our coastal regions, including towns and cities such as Galway, Limerick, Waterford, Wexford and Cork, as well as many others, have endured significant destruction, damage and disruption affecting people's daily lives. Trade and commerce have also been affected, along with farmlands, as a result of the storms and severe flooding of recent days and weeks.
I commend public service workers in the ESB, city and county councils and other public utilities who have been working extremely hard in difficult circumstances to assist citizens in coping with the consequences of such severe weather. It is clear that climate change is having an impact, with sea levels rising. The severe storms we have experienced are developing into a pattern of increasing frequency. Professor John Sweeney of NUI Maynooth is on record as saying that flooding is likely to get worse because of global warming. However, the Government's response is not urgent enough and flood prevention is not getting the level of priority it requires. There is no national co-ordination going on. What Minister is responsible? Is it the Minister of State with responsibility for the OPW, Deputy Brian Hayes, the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy O'Sullivan, the Minister for Finance, Deputy Noonan, if it happens to concern Limerick, or the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Hogan?
Yesterday, the Minister of State, Deputy Brian Hayes, essentially put his hands up and said that the €250 million being provided over the next five years for flood relief work would probably not be enough. He went on to say we might have to tax 10% and so on to do what we want to do.