County councils assess damage caused by recent storms

Clare coast worst hit with repair works to public infrastructure costing €23.76m

As the country recovers from the recent storms that battered the entire island, local authorities are facing tens of millions in clean-up and repair costs for damage to roads, homes and beaches.

The worst of the damage was experienced on the Clare coast where waves tore pavements apart and hammered the Lahinch promenade.

At an emergency meeting of Clare County Council in Ennis yesterday, county manager Tom Coughlan revealed the council is to issue Government with a €23.76 million bill to pay for repair works. The bill refers only to the damage to public infrastructure in Clare and does not include the cost to private property owners.

At the meeting, graphic closed-circuit television footage of the storm at Lahinch promenade last Friday week was shown. Senior engineer Tom Tiernan said the surge was one metre higher than any previously recorded.


Tom Kilfeather, director of infrastructure and services at Sligo County Council, said Sligo "was more fortunate than most other counties and didn't suffer significant damage".

The sand dunes at Strandhill and Rosses Point suffered up to seven metres of serious erosion and Mr Kilfeather estimates repairs could cost the council about €500,000 plus an extra €60,000 to €100,000 for minor damage to coastal paths.

Farther north, Donegal County Council confirmed the estimated cost of the damage for the county was in the region of €1 million, in addition to ongoing clean-up costs.

Kerry County Council is seeking some €20 million for coastal defences and repairs. In its submission to the Local Government Management Agency yesterday, the council put the immediate bill for infrastructure repair at €3.5 million while a spokesman added they might require further funding later.

Local authorities in Galway and Mayo could be seeking up to €30 million to cover the cost of the damage to the coastline.

Galway County Council was finalising its figures for damage; however, it estimated that costs of the impact on the Connemara coastline from Spiddal west up to Ballyconneely and Cleggan, including the Aran Islands and Inishbofin, would be between €10 million and €20 million.

The council said sections of the Salthill promenade requiring repair would cost at least €1 million. A coastal walkway from Blackrock to Blake’s Hill was also destroyed, while Leisureland swimming complex was engulfed by seas which affected its €400,000 gas-fuelled heat energy unit.

Mayo County Council estimated the cost of damage extending from Carrowholly Bridge near Westport to Achill Island and up to Erris at about €5 million.

Cork County Council director of services roads Tom Stritches said estimates were being finalised but it looked as if damage to coastal infrastructure would reach €1.75 million while damage to roads would be similar.

Local authorities in Dublin experienced relatively little damage.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times