Calls have been made for a full inquiry into the management of flood defences at Lough Neagh following extensive damage and hardship.
With levels at Lough Neagh reaching a 30 year high, more than 30 businesses were severely affected on the south shore putting at least 20 jobs in jeopardy.
However despite several pleas from business owners, particularly at Kinnego Marina, no one from the Department of Agriculture or the Rivers Agency has visited the afflicted stores.
Today Ben Wallace MP who is a Minister at the Northern Ireland Office visited the Marina and toured the flooded premises with local MP David Simpson.
Mr Wallace, whose own constituency in Wyre and Preston North suffered from recent flooding, said that while he was sympathetic to the plight of the business owners, it was a matter for the devolved government at Stormont to deal with.
Hearing proposed solutions to the flooding issue, Mr Wallace said told business owners that it stood to reason that their views, concerns and potential solutions to the problems be heard by the relevant agencies.
He also echoed Upper Bann MP David Simpson’s call for an inquiry into flood management.
Mr Simpson, who is also a member of the UK EFRA Committee, said: “Today was my second visit to Kinnego. Mr Wallace agreed to visit business owners situated at the Lough following the lack of engagement between our DARD Minister, her authorities and local businesses. I have written to the Minister and called for a full investigation into the flood defences around Lough Neagh and its management. I trust that an enquiry can get to the bottom of how the Lough is managed. This will be an opportunity to give a voice to local business owners who live, work and have been directly affected to bring forth their experiences, recommendations and their views on how the management of the Lough can be improved to avoid this situation or anything like it in the future. I urge the Minister to act on this request without delay, but also full priority must be given to allow for the completion of the inquiry before dissolution in March this year.”