Extreme weather events cost local authorities €9m

Hurricane Ophelia caused widespread disruption to homes and businesses countrywide

Local fishermen in Glen Pier, Balliskelligs, Co Kerry, look on as Storm Ophelia rages. Photograph: Stephen Kelleghan

Local fishermen in Glen Pier, Balliskelligs, Co Kerry, look on as Storm Ophelia rages. Photograph: Stephen Kelleghan

 

The Government has allocated almost €9 million to local authorities to cover the cost of three severe weather events last year.

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy confirmed the damage caused by Storm Ophelia, which hit the country in October, was €7,027,506.48.

The hurricane caused widespread damage and disruption to thousands of homes and businesses across the country. Three people also died.

Cork City and County Councils required the most financial assistance, seeking €3.47 million from the Department of Housing, while Waterford County Council sought €500,000.

Dublin City Council and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown did not receive any money.

Mr Murphy said local authorities had responded swiftly to the damage caused by the storm and had limited the financial cost.

Floods

However, he said their activities could not be met from existing resources and the money to each local authority will be recouped by the Department of Housing.

In addition to this, €1.73 million was made available to Donegal County Council to assist with floods which hit the county in August.

A total of 59 homeowners were forced to evacuate their homes due to the damage caused by the rainfall.

Donegal County Council has also reported to the Department of Transport that the cost of the infrastructural damage to roads across the county is €15.3 million.

Laois County Council was also allocated €208,000 for its response to severe flooding in Mountmellick in November. The River Barrow burst its banks causing roads to become impassable and houses and businesses to be flooded.

The total cost of the three severe weather events, which took place in the last five months of the year, is €8.96 million.

Contingency

Mr Murphy said this method of repayment is unreliable as the funding is sourced through savings in other expenditure areas.

Given the increased number of incidences of severe weather events and necessity of supporting councils responding to these events, the Minister believes a designated contingency fund is required.

The Department of Housing will engage with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to place this support on a secure footing for the future, said Mr Murphy.