18/08/2004

FSB calls for enquiry following floods

The Federation of Small Businesses has called for an enquiry into why the drains in Londonderry "completely failed" during last night's torrential rainfall which lead to localised flooding.

John Friel, FSB's North West Chairman described last night's floods as a "disaster for the many small businesses in Derry, who have seen their property wrecked and their livelihoods threatened".

“A big concern will be insurance claims that these businesses will be making, which we fear will push up already extremely high insurance premiums which small businesses in Derry and beyond are suffering from," Mr Friel said.

“The FSB would call upon an enquiry by the Water Service as to why the drainage system in the city completely failed. Questions need to be asked if the drainage system was well maintained and if investment for modernisation was needed.”

However, a spokesman for the government said the torrential rain had been unprecedented.

"I don't think, if people had known, there was much more we could have done," he said.

"The intensity of the rainfall, it came so fast, the drains would not be designed to take that capacity within that short a timeframe."

Initial insurance assessments indicate that the damage caused to businesses and homes will run into several million pounds.

(MB)

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