One hundred and eighteen new flood relief schemes are to go ahead in the north east, midlands, north west and the south coast, the Office of Public Works confirmed today. 

Mapping carried out in some of the areas worst affected by the floods in the last decade had shown that 34,500 properties are now assessed as being at risk of flooding and 50 new schemes are to proceed immediately to the design stage. 

Speaking at the launch of a ten-year €1 billion programme of investment in flood relief measures in Athlone, Minister of State for the Office of Public Works, Kevin 'Boxer' Moran, said he would now hold detailed discussions with the insurance companies to examine areas where insurance cover is still not available despite the fact that 42 major schemes have already been completed. 

Several flood schemes have been prioritised in today's plan.  

A €31 million project to help protect 768 houses in Tralee will now advance. 

€56m will be spent on the design and construction of a scheme in Limerick city and environs where 890 houses are affected.  

Ballinasloe in Co Galway will see €8.5m spent to secure 221 homes and a commitment was given on a €40m investment on the Dundalk/Blackrock South scheme - where 1,737 houses are now mapped as at risk.

The national risk management plan was announced by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Athlone today.

A six-year study of 300 identified communities, including 90 coastal areas, most impacted by flooding, has been carried out by the Office of Public Works' Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management programme. 

A ten-year capital programme has already been costed at €1bn to tackle the first 29 schemes. 

A group supporting communities at risk of flooding has welcomed today's announcement, but warned that difficulty re-insuring is hindering economic development.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland Jer Buckley of the Irish National Flood Forum said that the insurance industry has dealt with the issues "in a very cynical way" by not re-insuring people who were previously flooded.

Mr Buckley said today's news is "a very positive thing" and shows a huge commitment from Government, but without flood insurance it will not allow communities to reach their full potential . 

Mr Buckley said that people do not expect uninsureable risk to be insured, but he asked where world class investment schemes built by the Office of Public Works are put in place to prevent flooding why can't these communities get insurance back?

A bill put forward by Fianna Fáil's Michael McGrath proposes making it mandatory for insurance companies to reinsure where the Government has invested in flood insurance scheme plans proven to work.

He said the insurance problem was putting "a massive economic break" on the development of towns including Fermoy, Clonakilty, Clonmel and Skibbereen.