Flooding Fallout: Request for €11.76m in emergency aid to fix Cork’s storm-damaged roads

A flooded street in Skibbereen, Co Cork, after Storm Frank. Picture: Anne Minihane

Cork County Council chief executive Tim Lucey has sent a letter to the Department of Transport seeking €11.76m in emergency funding to fix roads damaged by Storm Frank.

However, the real figure for damage will be far higher, as this total doesn’t include damage to the county’s national roads, pier, harbours and local authority houses hit by the deluge on December 29/30.

There are also a number of areas where roads remain submerged and council engineers have been unable to inspect the damage caused to them.

Mayor of County Cork Cllr John Paul O’Shea (Ind) said it was vital the Government release all the €11.76m as quickly as possible to allow repairs to begin, especially as there could be more storms on the way.

He said the cash-strapped council couldn’t foot the bill on its own.

Last September, the council also wrote to the Department of Transport for €2.3m in emergency funding for storm damage in West Cork.

However, it only got €850,000.

Mr O’Shea said this wasn’t acceptable and the Government had to step up to the plate.

“If repairs aren’t carried out now, then the situation will only deteriorate even more and it will end up costing even more money to fix the damage. There are roads in many parts of the county in a serious state and causing damage to vehicles.

“People deserve more for the motor tax they pay,” said Mr O’Shea.

A copy of the letter sent by Mr Lucey, which was seen by the Irish Examiner, outlined the extensive rainfall which hit the county in December. Mr Lucey said it was three times the average monthly rainfall, while it reached 342% at Roche’s Point, the highest recorded since December 1955.

Tim Lucey
Tim Lucey

There was 912mm of rain recorded at a gauge at Gougane Barra in the month up to 6am on December 30. He said this led to landslides, collapsed road embankments, and serious damage to bridges, culverts and roads.

Mr Lucey intemised damage to each of the council’s municipal areas. The Skibbereen area topped the list, with €1,952,130, and in second spot was the Midleton area, at €1,695,319. For the first time in living memory, the town’s main street was inundated.

The least damage done was in the Fermoy area, at €536,395. Flood defences installed by the OPW proved very effective, even though the River Blackwater was at its highest level for decades.

Mr Lucey said it was essential the council got all this money, as its ability to fund repair bills had been severely impacted by cuts.

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