On April 11th 2017, the Government agreed the administrative arrangements for a once-off Voluntary Homeowners Relocation Scheme for those primary residential properties that flooded between 4th December, 2015 and 13th January, 2016. This is a national scheme of humanitarian assistance, targeting aid at those worst affected properties, for which there are no alternative feasible measures.
The Government decision confirmed that a homeowner had to meet a number of conditions to be eligible for assistance under this scheme, including:
- That floodwater entered and damaged the building during or as a result of flooding during relevant dates such as to render it uninhabitable.
- That the property was the homeowner’s primary residence at the time of the floods.
- That the affected property must have a significant probability of the recurrence of the flood depth, duration or frequency on a scale that could cause further serious and similar damage to the home.
- That the property is not due to or may not benefit from a planned or possible future major, minor or individual flood defence scheme.
- That the property may not be protected adequately from being flooded in the future, at an economically feasible cost, through other flood mitigation works including minor works, individual property protection or other possible measures that can be considered at this time.
- That the homeowner is unable to obtain flood risk insurance.
A total of 169 properties were identified by the local authorities and the direct Expressions of Interest as being potentially eligible for consideration under the scheme. Following an initial assessment of these that included meetings with individual families
- 12 properties are being protected with engineering solutions, funded by the Minor Works Scheme and/or the Remedial Works Scheme funded by the Voluntary Homeowners Relocation Scheme.
- 28 properties are being considered for an engineering solution including Remedial Works under this scheme. If no engineering solution is identified these homeowners will revert to individual consideration under the scheme,
- 38 were invited to apply for the scheme, of which the OPW has received 29 completed applications.
The balance are properties that are being or will be protected by major flood defence schemes or in a small number of cases people who did not engage with the voluntary scheme.
The Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland are expected to make a decision in respect of a number of applications under the scheme in the coming weeks. The OPW has set aside €3m this year for this scheme.