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Last Updated: Friday, 9 December 2005, 16:34 GMT
Flooded homeowners 'losing out'
Flood damage
About 160 homes were affected by the flooding
Homeowners in south Belfast whose properties were badly damaged in recent flooding say they are losing out compared to Housing Executive tenants.

Lower Ormeau residents plan to protest at Stormont for emergency payments.

The Housing Executive has already replaced its residents' flood-damaged furniture, but private tenants with home insurance will have to wait.

The Water Service said it could not make compensation payments until it was sure that it was liable for the damage.

Spokesman William Duddy said he had sympathy for the residents but the Water Service had to wait on the results of an inquiry.

Flooding in early December
Rescue workers were called after the lower Ormeau was flooded
"At the moment, I cannot dip into the public purse and pay out on demand without a proper, balanced investigation," he said.

"We are talking about taxpayers money here (and) we want to treat these claims fairly and consistently."

Lower Ormeau resident Marie Lavery said she felt disadvantaged because she owned her home.

"Because we have house insurance, we have to wait on cleaners and on loss adjusters to come out to decide whether to destroy our furniture," she said.

"Some people have already got the go-ahead to get their stuff out because it's contaminated."

The residents have said they are planning to hold a protest at Stormont on Monday.

Last week's heavy rain led to flooding which washed raw sewage into about 160 homes and onto streets in lower Ormeau for the fourth time in recent years.

It could take months for the houses to dry out.

Crews deal with floods aftermath
01 Dec 05 |  Northern Ireland

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