The Government will provide extra resources to repair the damage caused by the severe weather, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said, as one Minister predicted the required work would cost "huge money".
Mr Varadkar, who was on a visit to Wexford, the county worst hit by snow, said it was too early to tell how much the final repair bill would be, adding that it would not be known for a number of weeks.
“It is always the case that after a severe weather event like this – whether it is flooding or storms – those additional resources can be provided by central government. It is not possible to estimate how much will be required at this stage. It takes a number of weeks to really estimate the damage, and what additional resources would be needed.”
While business groups estimated the cost to their members to be above €100 million, Independent Minister Kevin “Boxer” Moran predicted the cost to the State in fixing roads, flood-damaged areas and other repair work would be significant.
Mr Moran, the Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, said it would be "huge money".
Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy is expected to bring a memo to Cabinet early this week outlining the response so far to the weather.
Graeme McQueen, a spokesman for the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, said the cost to businesses around the capital was likely to be over €100 million.
He said different sectors would be harder hit, such as manufacturers who may have to pay staff overtime this week to catch up on days lost.
Tough few days
“It is going to be a big bill,” Mr McQueen said. “You’re probably talking three figures, over a €100 million. But it’s very hard to calculate. We’ll be getting in touch with firms this week and making some proper estimates from there. It’s been a tough few days.”
Most businesses, he said, had prepared for last Thursday and Friday to be difficult, but expected trading to pick up on Saturday
“But Saturday was in some ways worse,” he said, adding that the disruption so far has been at least on a par with the last period of severe cold weather in 2010.
“It certainly has not been any better [than 2010]. It was well flagged though, but it probably went on a bit longer than people thought it would be.”
He encouraged people to support local businesses in the days ahead as they attempt to get back to normal. “If you do know businesses that have been closed try and get out and support these businesses – whether it is for a coffee or sandwich or a meal.”
The Small Firms Association has also estimated the cost in lost earnings would be in the low hundreds of millions.
Niall Madigan of the Irish Farmers Association, however, said the impact on farmers had largely been in extra work rather than financial cost.
“It’s plenty of heartache and hassle and frustration and difficulty, but I don’t know if you can say there is a cost.
“A lot of what we are hearing from our people is about the extra workload, and how it has imposed an extra workload on them. It is not one of those events that is adding a cost on. The cost to us is the extra workload.”