Friday 19 December 2014

Councils put storm damage clean-up costs at over €25m

Caroline Crawford and Olivia Kelleher

Published 14/01/2014 | 02:30

STORMS that ravaged the West have caused more than €19m worth of damage to Galway city and county.

And the costs for Mayo will hit €4.5m, according to the county council. The cleanup costs are estimated at €300,000, while repairs to infrastructure will cost €4.2 million. In Cork the estimate for the damage is €3m.

As the clean-up continues, reports from the councils laid out the extent of the damage caused. Roads, cemeteries and tourist spots were all seriously damaged by the storms and subsequent floodwaters.

A report by Galway County Council described the storms as "the worst such event in living memory based on local knowledge all along the Galway coastline".

DEFENCES

It estimated the cost of the damage at €18.32m. However, it warned that the figure could be higher as a complete assessment of affected locations was still ongoing.

A report from Galway City Council said €782,375 worth of damage had been done. This would return coastal protection to pre-storm conditions but does not include any flood defences needed in the future.

A further €500,000 will be needed to repair damage caused to the Leisureland complex in Salthill.

Galway County Council stated that €500,000 had been spent on the clean-up cost to date.

Giving a breakdown of the damage, the county council stated that €6.5m was required for coastal protection of roads along the coast and on the islands. A further €3m was needed to repair damage to coastal lands. The council is now recommending a two-stage coastal protection plan be implemented. This is expected to cost a further €250,000.

Damage was done to roads at 100 different locations, with sections of the road being washed away in several instances. The council estimates the cost of repairing these roads at €2m. A further €2m is needed to repair piers and harbours .

A total of six cemeteries near the coast were badly damaged. The council estimated a cost of €700,000 to carry out repairs to walls, boundary treatments and in some cases burial plots.

An estimated €2.5m will be required to repair tourism infrastructure, including beaches, amenity areas, walkways and parking areas.

"The beaches and adjoining areas have significant amounts of debris, including litter and seaweed. Many of the adjoining sand dunes are severely damaged.

"There will be substantial costs associated with bringing these beaches back to an acceptable standard in this area which is so dependent on tourism," the report stated.

Further costs were estimated for repairing inshore island causeways, (€100,000), the Inis Mheain Airstrip (€250,000) and non-coastal flooding damage of roads (€500,000).

In Cork, more than €200,000 was spent on individual flooding issues, including fallen trees, erection of demountable flood barriers, distribution of sandbags and emergency pothole repairs.

The cost of road repairs in Co Cork is in excess of €1.2m; while €1.7m is needed to correct coastal infrastructural damage.

Irish Independent

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