State bodies to hand out €100m for repair works
THE Government will pay out up to €100m to assist state bodies in their clean-up operation following Superstorm Christine.
Junior Finance Minister Brian Hayes confirmed that initial funding will be given within weeks.
Mr Hayes last night chaired a meeting of the Government's emergency response group, which heard details of the devastating effects of the storm.
While the clean-up bill could be as large as €300m, the Government will need to provide "tens of millions of euro" to cover the overall cost.
The details will be provided to Taoiseach Enda Kenny when he returns from the Gulf.
The money from central government will then be channelled to a number of key state agencies, such as the Office of Public Works, Bord Failte and the National Roads Authority.
These bodies are in the process of receiving funding applications from local authorities tasked with performing clean-up operations.
"The meeting heard about the real devastation, particularly across the western counties, and the impact it has had on tourism and infrastructure," Mr Hayes told the Irish Independent.
"It's clear that additional money will need to be provided by the Government in order to address the problem and assist in the clean-up operation," he added.
Mr Hayes emphasised that the initial estimate does not exceed €100m.
However, he said that it was clear from the meeting that the country is "well-prepared for these events".
"Now that we have an emergency co-ordination response group in place, it has become much easier to bring hard and soft information together on a national basis," Mr Hayes said.
"This has been crucial in order to provide support to local authorities."
Meanwhile, the Department of Transport said local authorities will share in a €332m fund, which can be used to repair roads damaged by the storm.
"The department will shortly be making an allocation of €332m in funding to local authorities for regional and local road maintenance and improvement," a spokesman told the Irish Independent.