Thursday 16 August 2018

Economic cost of blizzard to rise above €160m

A man walking in snowy conditions in Larbert as storm Emma, rolling in from the Atlantic, looks poised to meet the Beast from the East's chilly Russia air - causing further widespread snowfall and bitter temperatures. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
A man walking in snowy conditions in Larbert as storm Emma, rolling in from the Atlantic, looks poised to meet the Beast from the East's chilly Russia air - causing further widespread snowfall and bitter temperatures. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Ryan Nugent and Colm Kelpie

The big freeze is set to cost more than €160m as the blizzard keeps most of the country housebound.

Industry sources expect the economic cost to shops, restaurants and bars will be more than €70m each day - following a shutdown of most businesses and transport modes yesterday and today.

Transport companies such as Dublin Bus, Irish Rail and Bus Éireann have all effectively been in shutdown since early on Wednesday.

Both bus companies closed entirely yesterday and today.

Irish Rail and Dublin Bus are both expected to experience revenue losses for fares of around €600,000 for each day, working out at €1.2m each over the course of the two days.

Bus Éireann is anticipating revenue losses of around €250,000 for the two days without any services.

Insurance Ireland say it is too difficult to estimate the damage cost of this latest blizzard.

However, the last big freezes in Ireland in January and December 2010 saw payouts of €297m and €224m respectively.

The restaurant sector alone lost around €50m in revenue, as businesses count the cost of the weather-related disruption.

Business lobby groups, for the most part, shied away from estimating the cost in lost revenue, but Restaurants Association of Ireland chief Adrian Cummins said it would be around the €50m mark for his members.

"The weather disruption will cost about €50m in lost revenue for the restaurant sector in Ireland, with many businesses closing due to Government advice and those that have stayed open reporting very little business today," Mr Cummins told the Irish Independent.

"We will be seeking a meeting with the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to highlight the cost to business and it's hugely important that the 9pc Vat rate is kept for years to come."

Dublin Chamber said the time to count the financial cost will be in the coming days, adding some firms will be affected more than others.

Irish Independent

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