By Dan Walsh
In Dáil Éireann today, Independent Deputy Verona Murphy raised the matter that just over a week ago, there was a tornado in south County Wexford. It arose in Haggard and Ramsgrange and travelled to Balliniry and from Balliniry it went to Milltown and Ballycullane on to Clongeen and finally to Foulkesmill, leaving destruction in its wake for more than 40 families.
“Their homes and their properties were damaged beyond recognition in many cases. On inspecting the scenes their homes and properties resemble Armageddon.
“What was equally hurtful and possibly more damaging for the Government was that the 5,000-strong community of south County Wexford believe there was no support from the Government and no recognition of the event. I am afraid that the people feel very let down by the Government. I have visited many of the homes and have spoken to other affected householders on the phone.
“The Minister of State, Deputy James Browne, did visit. When he was asked what the families were to do, he told them to do nothing until they heard from him. If one is sitting with 40 families who have had the roof ripped off their house, which is probably the minimum of damage….
At this stage An Leas-Cheann Comhairle was reminding the Wexford Deputy “we are over time,” but Deputy Murphy continued; “how can a family do nothing? I ask the Tánaiste, for his own sake as the prospective leader, to come to Wexford next Tuesday night (Leas-Cheann Comhairle comes in again) “where a meeting will be held with the families and the communities, please.”
The Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar T.D. replied; “I thank the Deputy. The Minister of State, Deputy Browne, raised this matter with me only last night and made me aware of the situation. My sympathies go to the families and to the people affected. We have a Red Cross scheme, which the Deputy will be aware of”
Deputy Murphy; The schemes are no good. You have to visit the people.
An Leas Cheann-Comhairle; “Please, Deputy”
Deputy Murphy; “I specifically asked the Tánaiste if he would come to Wexford to meet the people. That is the question.”
An Tanaiste; “I cannot next Tuesday night because the Dáil will be in session, and I must be here. I will examine if it is possible to do so at some point.”