Floods: Cabinet to approve multi-million fund to aid clean-up

The Cabinet is to approve a clean-up fund worth tens of millions of euro for devastated communities across the country.
Floods: Cabinet to approve multi-million fund to aid clean-up

Environment Minister Alan Kelly will bring a memo to Cabinet this morning outlining the scale of damage as a result of Storm Desmond.

With many communities still under water, some local authorities are unable to provide estimates of the costs of repairing roads, bridges, and other infrastructure; however the damage is expected to be in the tens of millions.

Businesses and families are on alert again today with water levels due to peak around Limerick City over the next 24 hours.

Jim Casey of the OPW said water levels in the Athlone area had increased by another 3cm in the 24 hours up to yesterday morning.

Mr Casey said: “We can’t be specific as to when it will peak up at the mid-catchment up at Athlone, it may be slightly longer to reach the peak up there but we will monitor those levels very carefully. There will be rises in other catchments around the country following the rainfall observed there on Saturday, especially a lot of the smaller catchments will have risen and flashed up.”

Although temperatures will remain mild this week for the time of year, Met Éireann is expecting further rain.

Forecaster Gerald Fleming said: “I would have to stress that the accumulation of rain over the next six or seven days will be above normal, it seems like it is coming fairly steadily, in other words, very few dry days, Wednesday seems to be the best, but there will be above normal rain over the next seven days.

“It looks like the areas of greatest risk will be the south and south west because the wind is coming from the south — Wexford, south Kilkenny, Waterford, south Tipperary, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Galway — those would be the areas that I would expect to be most impacted.

“A number of those rain events have the potential to turn nasty, potentially they could cause flooding in areas that have had no flooding.”

Mr Kelly is also expected to outline further details of a new €2.5m forecasting system. The longer-term flood forecasting and warning system would recruit 15 staff from the OPW and Met Éireann.

Local authorities had been asked to submit estimates of the cost of damages by noon yesterday, however, it may be some weeks before the waters subside and areas impacted can be fully analysed, especially in places worst affected.

However, Sligo County Council confirmed its clean-up bill will cost over €1m.

Donegal County Council expect repair costs to be around €1.89m. Galway City Council said only one location, Parkavera, had been hit by flooding and it expects repairs to be in the region of €35,000.

Leitrim County Council said it continues to manage the situation and to assess response costs associated with flooding in the county.

A spokeswoman said this cost would include providing assistance to property owners, businesses, and the general public, as well as route diversions and clean-up and restoration costs.

John Barry, chair of the National Co-ordination Group, which has been meeting daily since the onset of the flooding, warned the public to remain vigilant with many roads still flooded.

“Over the weekend, there had been some disruption and there is still some disruption on roads across the country, railways have been affected as well,” said Mr Barry.

“Where roads are flooded it would be advised not to try to traverse roads, take a detour, use another route.

“We are concerned about safety on farmland and we would be advising that farmers wouldn’t undertake operations involving crossing flood waters or rescuing animals, or bringing animals across flood waters, don’t undertake those alone.”

Teagasc have said more than 700 farmers had some land affected by flooding.

They held a meeting in Athlone yesterday to review the impact of flooding on farms and to agree actions to assist those affected. Dermot McCarthy, head of advisory services in Teagasc, said it is very conscious of black spots that are severely affected by flooding and felt an inter-agency approach was the best way to help farmers.

More in this section