No money to fix storm-damaged roads in Cork

More than €2.3m in damage was caused to roads and bridges in Cork county alone following last month’s storm. Some roads remain closed.

No money to fix storm-damaged roads in Cork

The county council, it emerged yesterday, cannot afford to repair damaged sections and has not been advised if the Department of Environment will provide emergency funding.

Damage was particularly severe in peninsulas of West Cork where two roads remain closed, leading to 30-minute detours.

According to Tom Stritch, the council’s director of services, a tidal culvert collapsed on a causeway near Barley Cove in the Mizen Peninsula.

“The closure of this road is having a big impact on local traffic due to the length of the diversion route and for tourist traffic accessing the Mizen Head. To complicate matters, this structure is located in a special area of conservation,” Mr Stritch said.

“A section of seawall between Leap and Glandore/Union Hall has collapsed. An inspection last Thursday revealed ground conditions have deteriorated further in recent weeks and it is necessary to close the road, which will cause inconvenience to those living and working in the vicinity.”

In a three-day period from September 10, 130.7mm of rain fell in the Goleen area.

Fianna Fáil councillor Joe Carroll claimed, prior to the damage, council engineers in West Cork had reportedly told him they simply did not have the money to carry out repairs.

He said the Government’s contribution to roads funding had been cut by 50% in the past five years. He claimed some roads had to deal with extra tankers after EU milk quota restrictions ended earlier this year. A number of roads had already been closed for five weeks, Independent councillor Michael Collins said.

Fianna Fáil councillor Margaret Murphy-O’Mahony said that she had been told some postmen cannot deliver post due to the state of roads, while Sinn Féin councillor Rachel McCarthy noted: “There’s not much point erecting signs for the Wild Atlantic Way if people have no roads to travel on.”

Meanwhile, Independent councillor Declan Hurley said, since flooding in 2009, waterways had been choked up and rivers did not have the capacity of 20 years ago.

“The OPW, Inland Fisheries, and others need to address this,” he said.

Fine Gael councillor Kevin Murphy said it was rich of other parties to be talking about a lack of finance when non-government party councillors had supported 10% and 5% reductions over the past two years in the local property tax.

Council chief executive Tim Lucey said the local authority had spent €425,000 on emergency repairs and could not afford any more. “The council’s ability to fund responses and repairs, following events like this, has been severely affected by budgetary controls,” he said.

Mayor of County Cork, Independent councillor John Paul O’Shea, said the council would again contact the department seeking to cover the cost.

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