SDLP Stormont Leader Matthew O’Toole has said that business owners are crying out for financial support in the wake of flooding across the North.
Mr O’Toole was speaking after visiting the Downpatrick area on Monday with SDLP South Down MLA Colin McGrath
South Belfast MLA Mr O’Toole said:
“After visiting Downpatrick today and speaking with local business owners and members of the public it is clear that it is going to take some time for the area to recover from the recent flooding. There was a palpable sense of devastation at the destruction that has visited this community in recent days and people cannot understand why more is not being done to help those affected.
“As Leader of the Stormont Opposition I made it clear that I was disgusted that Stormont is currently not sitting and cannot act to get emergency funding to those who need it most. If the Assembly does return then the SDLP team will be making sure that steps are taken to improve infrastructure in areas at risk of flooding and to ensure that emergency funding is available to help people if flooding does occur. It’s disgraceful that people have been left to fend for themselves and pick up the pieces of their shattered lives with no sense of urgency from the Secretary of State to intervene.”
South Down MLA Colin McGrath said:
“It has been an incredibly difficult few days for people in Downpatrick who have seen local businesses, some that have been in operation for years, absolutely decimated with little prospect of many reopening their doors anytime soon. People are understandably frustrated at the response to this flooding with the Stormont stalemate being trotted out as an excuse.
“As is so often the case when government fails to deliver the local community has rallied around to support each other in any way they can. I’ve been on the ground since the flooding began and cannot begin to describe the efforts people have put into clearing the area and supporting those worst impacted. What we need now is the Secretary of State to work with the civil service and bring forward a funding package that helps Downpatrick get back on its feet. Nothing less will be good enough.”