The €260m flood defence package announced yesterday by the Government is not enough, according to a major insurance group.

Brokers Ireland has said that the financial package for "8,000 homes is an important step on the road to restoring protection for those who have been left without insurance".

But the organisation, which represents 1,300 member firms throughout Ireland, cautioned that "there is still a long way to go yet".

Brian McNelis, director of general insurance services at Brokers Ireland, said the "ball will now be in the court of local authorities".

He warned: “It will be critically important that the authorities act with speed and we would encourage the Government to keep pressure on to make sure there are no undue delays.

“Insurance cover is an essential protection that consumers rely on when the undesirable or unexpected happens.  Too many people have been left devastated with huge financial and psychological implications.”

Mr McNelis added that it is to be hoped that the desire expressed by Minister of State at the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief, Kevin Boxer Moran, for a €1bn package to deliver flood defences for the entire country, would receive the support of current and future Governments.

He said: “Such investment will ultimately represent value for money for the Exchequer which should replace the need to find emergency funding when what has become the inevitable would otherwise happen."

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