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Department pledges independent review into Newry flooding

'If it is the case that there were failures, then those most be confronted head on'

Sugar Island flooding in Newry 1

A review is to be held into last month’s flooding in Newry following a meeting to press for answers on failures in flood preparedness, warning and response.

SDLP Newry & Armagh MLA Justin McNulty met with officials from the Department for Infrastructure (DfI).

Mr McNulty said: “I felt it was important to confront the issues that most householders and business owners in Newry want answers to – primarily, inadequate warning in advance of the flooding, and shortcomings in preparedness, particularly with respect to the alleviation of water levels in Newry Canal through effective use of the Lock Gates.

“It is important to note that my focus is fixed on ensuring that processes are improved and in place to prevent such devastation from happening again.  I want to see a full review into the decisions that were made in the lead up to Newry’s flooding, so that facts can be established and any shortcomings laid bare.

“If it is the case that there were failures, then those most be confronted head on.”

Mr McNulty said the department had given a commitment that an independent review into preparedness, warning and response will be undertaken, and should be completed in around six months.

A spokesperson said:  “Preparation for a Multi-Agency Review into the October 2023 floods will begin in 2-3 weeks time. This Review will be co-ordinated by The Executive Office with DfI, Local Government and DfC leading on those aspects for which they are responsible.”

Meanwhile, Newry Business Improvement District (BID) has praised the initiative by town solicitors firm Fisher & Fisher which is giving £125 worth of vouchers to all 40 team members to use in local businesses impacted by the recent flooding.

The vouchers are all being sourced from businesses affected, including Gordon’s Chemist, Nugelato Ice-Cream Parlour, George Preston Florist and Friar Tucks on Sugar Island.

Eamonn Connolly, Newry BID manager, said: “We really have seen such community spirit in the wake of the flooding in Newry and beyond. Small choices really do make a big difference as Fisher & Fisher could have sourced these vouchers from anywhere.

“If any other businesses are thinking about Christmas gifting and would like to support flood impacted businesses, please do feel free to contact Newry BID and we can support you with implementing this.”

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