News Winter Storms

Thursday 14 December 2017

Flood clean-up to cost Galway County Council €12m

Fiona Greaney and her son Tommy at their flooded home in Ballinasloe, Co Galway. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Fiona Greaney and her son Tommy at their flooded home in Ballinasloe, Co Galway. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

As communities count the cost of flood damage caused by Storm Desmond, one local authority has revealed the clean-up will run to more than €12m for its region.

Galway County Council has estimated the initial damage caused by the storm and subsequent floods at €12.2m. The local authority is currently preparing a cost report for the Department of the Environment.

Just €1.6m of the bill was spent on the initial clean-up operation, including the provision of sandbags and getting council workers to affected areas.

Liam Gavin, director of services with Galway County Council, said the bulk of the costs related to repair and restoration work, which must now be carried out on a range of roads around the county. It would also cover flood mitigation measures and housing damage.

It also emerged that council workers successfully battled the recent flooding, despite a significant drop in resources.

A special presentation to Galway County Councillors revealed the local authority had 35pc fewer staff to deal with the flooding, compared with 2009, when the last major flooding occurred in the county.

Mr Gavin said repair works must now be carried out on the N59 route to Oughterard, while a large number of regional roads were also badly affected. The R336 at Baile na hAbhann remains partially blocked but workers are unable to assess the damage until the flood waters recede further.

He said these were the type of issues that led to "extensive costs".

More than 100mm of rain hit Galway in a 36-hour period during the worst of the recent spell of bad weather, leaving a number of communities under water.

However, the presentation also highlighted the significant number of relief works carried out since the 2009 deluge, which saved hundreds of homes this time around.

Since 2009, 118 OPW minor flood relief works were undertaken across the county at a cost of €4m. One wall, constructed in Ballinasloe after 130 homes were flooded in 2009, saved every single home this time around.

Irish Independent

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