On Thursday 16 November, Hilary Benn MP, the Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary, paid a visit to Portadown to witness the consequences of recent flooding on the local community. Throughout his visit he explored a number of affected locations such as Portadown Peoples Park, Shillington’s Quay, as well as residential areas and businesses.
The Shadow Secretary also visited Portadown Townhall, which was used as an Emergency Response and Advice Centre throughout the flooding. At the Townhall he had the opportunity to speak to those impacted, and discuss the recovery process with Council staff and representatives from local government agencies involved in the recovery plans.
At the conclusion of his visit the Shadow Secretary said:
“I would like to thank everyone involved for giving me the opportunity to thank Council staff and other agencies who have worked so hard to help those affected by the terrible flooding which has hit homes and businesses. I greatly valued the opportunity to discuss how to best manage flood risk in Portadown with the Department for Infrastructure, other agencies and Council officials, and the need to develop a flood defence scheme.”
The Shadow Secretary was greeted by the Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Alderman Margaret Tinsley, who highlighted the impact the severe flooding has had on residents and businesses, and the recovery process underway.
Commenting on the visit, the Lord Mayor said:
“The Shadow Secretary, gained a first-hand understanding of the extensive damage inflicted on residents and businesses in Portadown due to the recent flooding. During his discussions, he expressed his commitment to supporting those impacted.
“The outstanding efforts of Council staff and the numerous multi-agency partners involved in the recovery effort were also commended by him. This recognition serves as a well-deserved acknowledgement for Council staff, representatives from local government agencies, the voluntary sector, and the community who have supported so many people throughout this process.
“The Council will continue to lobby central and UK government for the maximum possible financial assistance for residents and businesses.”
A £7,500 Grant Payment is available for businesses to apply for online as part of the £15m package to support the wider economic recovery implemented by Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris.
Businesses can receive their payment by filling in a form on the Council website available here: www.armaghbanbridgecraigavon.gov.uk/floodrecoveryadvice. Details must be submitted by all businesses impacted by flooding before Monday 20 November at 5pm, to receive payment. This applies even if a business has previously provided details to Council.