Inishowen tries to count cost of devastation to road network

More than 300 different parts of the 1,500km road network across the Inishowen peninsula were damaged by last Tuesday’s floods.

Inishowen tries to count cost of devastation to road network

The details were given in an updated assessment of the devastation brought to the region at a meeting of the Inishowen Municipal Authority in Co Donegal.

These 300 incidents ranged from serious structural damages to bridges to rural roads being completely washed away in the downpours.

Shocked councillors heard how it will take until the end of this week to give even a rough assessment of the cost of the damage which will certainly run into tens of millions of euro.

A county council spokesman said: “The council’s Roads Service is continuing to assess the impact of the floods on the 1,500km road network in Inishowen. Some 80% of this survey is complete and it is expected that a ballpark cost for the repairs will be available at the end of the week.

“The next step is to identify and cost design solutions for the issues identified and this work is under way in conjunction with the council’s road design team.”

Some 47 families have registered with Donegal County Council as being temporarily homeless following the floods last week, including 21 families in Burnfoot, 14 in Buncrana, and the remainder in Carndonagh, Muff, Clonmany and Malin.

Longer-term temporary accommodation is being offered to a number of families and further accommodation will be made available over the coming weeks.

The council is continuing to co-ordinate the support being provided by the Defence Forces in a number of private housing estates and other areas affected.

Assistance has been provided in Pairc an Ghrianain & Lios na Greine in Burnfoot, at Riverside and Elm Park estates in Buncrana, and in housing estates and other areas in Clonmany and Carndonagh.

Skips and dehumidifiers have also been provided to 65 households and small businesses.

Seamus Neely, chief executive of Donegal County Council, acknowledged the support the council has received from Government, agencies and communities in responding to this major flooding incident.

“The co-operation and assistance that we have received has been excellent. Government departments and agencies have been tremendous in offering all kinds of support and assistance.

“I would also like to commend the generosity of spirit conveyed by the community of the Inishowen Peninsula and indeed across Donegal over the last number of days.

“I would also like to acknowledge our own staff and their dedication and tireless work during this very difficult time.”

Chairman of Inishowen Municipal District Council Cllr Jack Murray said the resilience of the community has been outstanding.

“The devastation that has been experienced by so many families, businesses and individuals has been heart-wrenching.

“The strength, kindness and determination of the people of the peninsula and the county has been to the fore over the last number of days and this has been vital in helping all those affected cope with the situation they find themselves in.”

Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin arrived in Donegal yesterday to see the damage caused by the floods for himself.

Mr Martin visited a number of areas along with local TDs Charlie McConlaogue and Pat the Cope Gallagher.

He visited Burnfoot, Urris and Buncrana, to see some of the worst damage caused by last Tuesday’s catastrophic events. “It’s just very, very lucky that nobody lost their life,” he said.

He said there is no question that funding shouldn’t be an issue when it comes to rehoming people and replacing belongings.

“When a devastating storm like this occurs, then the State has to get involved and help communities to get back on their feet.

“It will take funding but given the nature and scale of the damage I don’t think anyone would begrudge funding being put into these areas.”

He added that there must be follow through when all the cameras have left Inishowen.

“When you look at children and look at how their whole lives have been turned upside down, I think we have to have follow through for these children.

“We will be conscious that once the helplines move away then the follow through happens,” he said.

Gaeltacht Minister Joe McHugh said staff from the Department of Social Protection have been travelling in to assist in the areas most affected and are also volunteering to cover emergency on call over evenings and weekends.

“We continue to call on anyone in need to get in contact with the Department of Social Protection. Cash payments are there for all those who lost clothes and possessions in the flood.

“We would especially encourage anyone who might not have required assistance under stage one of the scheme to get in contact via the Buncrana and Carndonagh offices as we move from stage one into stage two.”

In dealing with emergency events of this nature, the department adopts a three stage approach.

The first is a payment for food, clothing and personal items, the second payments is for household goods such as furniture and white goods, and the third is for works such as plastering, dry- lining, relaying of floors, electrical re-wiring and painting.

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