Extreme weather warning: Council fears it won’t be reimbursed for ‘Beast from the East’ repairs

As the ‘Beast from the East’ fast approaches, Cork County Council is not only preparing for polar conditions but is also worried about the cost as the Government does not properly reimburse it for the damage such weather events can cause.

Extreme weather warning: Council fears it won’t be reimbursed for ‘Beast from the East’ repairs

Despite various ministers saying the Government will fund the costs of damage and clean-ups, figures show the local authority is more than €6.5m out of pocket for flooding and storms which have struck the region since 2012.

Council bosses provided figures after they were asked by councillor Des O’Grady exactly what was billed for damage and what the government provided.

It showed that since June 2012, the total damage amounted to €27,296,398.

However, the Government only gave the county council €20,600,813.

The most significant damage inflicted on the county came in 2015 when Storms Desmond, Eve, and Frank battered the country.

Council engineers estimated the damage ran to €16.395m, but the Government paid out just €12.483m.

Mr O’Grady said there was a significant shortfall in the past six years, which had a huge knock-on effect on council budgets.

“Ministers say there’s no problem compensating local authorities, but obviously there is,” said Mr O’Grady.

Councillor Eoghan Jeffers said the report was timely as the polar front moves in.

“It’s shocking to see the amount sought and the amount actually received,” said councillor Melissa Mullane.

Councillor Rachel Mc-Carthy said motorists were constantly criticising the county council for the state of the roads, but the reality is that money isn’t being provided for their proper upkeep and repair by central government, especially after major weather events.

“There’s a clear trend that we don’t get what we look for. We get about 60% of what we look for,” said councillor Seamus McGrath.

Council chief executive Tim Lucey said the fact that the Government was not footing the bills left the local authority with “a significant drain on its resources”.

He said he was concerned about this, especially as climate change is likely to lead to even more extreme weather events in the future.

Mr O’Grady suggested to Mr Lucey that he and other city and county managers should lobby the Government to ensure they are not left out of pocket.

Mayor of Co Cork, Declan Hurley, said that, in advance of the ‘Beast from the East’, he was cancelling a mayoral reception which was to take place tomorrow night in County Hall.

The council’s ‘severe weather team’ met yesterday and will meet again in the coming days.

Mr Lucey said the council’s communications department will issue regular bulletins to the public.

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