Speaking at the county council meeting in Dungarvan, the county’s senior engineer John O’Flynn said up to 150 metres of the storm wall collapsed into the sea and all but 78 metres of the 590 metres of outfall piping was seriously dislodged and damaged and will have to be written off.
Mr O’Flynn said flooding of the council’s archive office resulted in extensive damage to many documents and must now be assessed to establish priorities for their restoration.
Telephone networks, internet, and electrical and computer equipment was damaged in the council’s motor taxation offices.
“The storm damage too was serious and widespread,” said Mr O’Flynn, who listed the many areas countywide that had taken a buffeting from the elements.
Although a final bill has yet to be calculated, it is set to run into several millions of euro and an urgent appeal for emergency funding has been made to the Department of the Marine.
Mr O’Flynn paid tribute to the council’s own emergency services who had responded so speedily to the situation and who had worked tirelessly and for long hours in what he described as “hostile and hazardous” weather conditions.
Mr O’Flynn said the amount of Government funding the county has been getting for coastal protection over the years was very small and in fact they had not received anything in 2003.
Cllr Tom Cronin said stretches of the already vulnerable coastline at Ardmore had been further eroded, and little or no money had been spent on coastal protection works. “It will cost about €250,000 to repair the most recent damage,” he said.
Several members outlined details of the damage in their respective areas, with Cllr Paudie Coffey disclosing that despite claims by Teagasc that no livestock had perished he knew of one farm between Portlaw and Carrick-On-Suir where 100 lambs died.
Cllr Ger Barron said the collapse of many of the sand dunes in Bonmahon meant that the small village resort is now a “disaster waiting to happen” in the event of further flooding and storms. He called on the Government to provide funding for repair works.
The county engineer refused to respond to Cllr James Tobin’s query about the overall cost of the damage, but said it was “considerable.”
He said he only had preliminary costings at the moment and they are still trying to accurately assess the situation.
Mr O’Flynn, however, assured the councillors that an immediate request for emergency funding will be made to the Department of the Marine for every area affected by the floods.