Earlier today the Secretary of State visited the Rivers Agency Toome Sluice Gates to see at first hand the challenges faced in the wake of the recent flooding across many parts of Northern Ireland.
The Secretary of State met David Porter, the Chief Executive of the River Agency, who gave an overview on the operation of the floodgates and flood control measures that have been put in place.
Ms Villiers was impressed with the work of the Northern Ireland executive and the steps taken in order to help all the many families and business affected by the flood, as well as praising the communities and agencies working to offer whatever assistance they could.
Following her visit, Ms Villiers said:
My heart goes out to those throughout Northern Ireland who have had their lives so severely disrupted. It has been a devastating Christmas and New Year for many and it is vital for householders, farmers and businesses to get back on their feet as soon as possible.
Over the past number of weeks, I have been moved by the resilience demonstrated by householders and businesses who have been working hard and with the help of neighbours to help each other deal with the impact of the heavy rain and flooding. Today I want to take this opportunity to thank all of those who have been involved in these efforts. I know that staff on the ground, including the Rivers Agency, the Roads Service and the emergency services are working hard on solutions for the shorter and longer-term and to provide help.
The Chancellor announced before Christmas an additional £51 million to support households and businesses affected by devastating floods. The important thing is to help homes and businesses repair the damage, replace possessions and get life back on track. Northern Ireland will receive £1.3 million of this funding. It is up to the Executive how this money is spent and I hope it will provide useful further assistance in responding to problems caused by flooding.