Wednesday 22 November 2017

Emergency funding on table as local councils face €70m storm bill

Paul Melia, Environment Correspondent

LOCAL authorities are facing a bill in excess of €70m to repair damage caused by the past six weeks of floods and storms.

The Cabinet will discuss an emergency package for county councils this morning.

Local authorities were asked to send in estimates of the costs of the floods to the Department of the Environment.

So far the submissions, amounting to €70m, have been collated and will be discussed by ministers – but this is not believed to include additional damage caused in the past five days. The figure is also separate to the costs to businesses and homeowners.

Ministers are also expected to review the funding for flood defences and examine the status of projects in the pipeline.

Clare County Council is likely to have the biggest bill, with engineers yesterday estimating the damage at €37m – revised upwards from an original figure of €24m.

The ferocity of four storms since late December resulted in 10 metres of coastline near the Doonbeg golf course being eroded, while roads, water-treatment plants, public lighting, coastal defences and piers were utterly destroyed across the county.

The council warns that more extensive coastal defences are needed in some areas.

It also says that thousands of acres of farmland are under threat in the Shannon Estuary, and that some €1.3m is needed to protect Shannon Airport and the town from inundation.

Among the worst affected areas is Lahinch, which will require investment of more than €6m. This is because there was "total destruction of significant lengths of wall" and damage caused to public lighting, pavements and the lifeguard building.

Irish Independent

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