Flooding crisis: Some roads reopening as waters recede

Insurance Ireland yet to announce estimate of costs related to recent storms and flooding

Aerial photograph of flooding damage in Athlone in early January 2016. Photograph: Irish Air Corps Athlone

Aerial photograph of flooding damage in Athlone in early January 2016. Photograph: Irish Air Corps Athlone

 

A number of roads in north and southeast Clare have reopened as water levels continue to recede following widespread flooding across the country earlier this month.

All roads in Springfield, Clonlara are now passable and the N67 at New Quay has reopened. A number of local primary roads are still flooded in parts of North Clare.

Clare County Council has received confirmation that the ESB will reduce the discharge level at Parteen Weir from 300 cumecs to 265 cumecs.

Meanwhile, Insurance Ireland has yet to announce an estimate of the cost of the damage caused by the recent storms and nationwide flooding.

Annual burden

The cost of damage caused by extreme weather events in recent years has turned into an almost inevitable annual financial burden.

In February 2014 the storm damage cost €111 million, while the storms of December 2013/January 2014 cost €46 million. The October 2011 flooding cost €127 million and the December 2010 freezing weather and heavy snow cost €224 million.

Westmeath County Council said on Friday the River Shannon had fallen 32cm since its peak on January 5th and would continue to fall over the weekend and into this week.

Flood defences in the area, which include pumping infrastructure and transport services, will be maintained until Friday, January 22nd.

If the drier weather continues it is expected some of the flood defences can be removed by Friday.

Emergency funding

Minister of State Simon Harris said last week it was “highly unlikely” Ireland would qualify for emergency EU funding regarding the flooding.

Mr Harris said the current rules, which require that the total damage amounts to 0.6 per cent of gross national income, were discriminatory against smaller EU states.

The EU Solidarity Fund is an emergency fund established after floods in central Europe in 2002.

While Ireland secured funding from the facility in 2013, the size of the fund was reduced in the EU’s 2014-2020 budget cycle.