The Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works has said it is absolutely essential that more funding is found to put necessary flood risk management schemes in place.

Brian Hayes was speaking at a public conference on flood risk management, taking place in Dublin Castle today.

He said that "while the Government has made €225m available for flood defences between 2012 and 2016, it will take 30 years to complete required flood defence projects, if we continue to invest at that pace".

He said it was "likely to cost €1.5bn to address flood risks".

He also that "the political system in Ireland needs to grow up".

"Politics in Ireland is very local and very short term, and as a result we are not good at planning for the long term and having to make tough decisions when it comes to planning and development," he added.

"If we ever needed a national response to something, it is on this issue of flooding."

Gerald Fleming of Met Éireann told the conference that "the winter just gone was the wettest winter ever recorded in Ireland".