Co Cork's flood clean-up bill could hit €25m, estimates say

Recent flooding could cost more than €25m in clean-ups and repairs to damaged infrastructure in Co Cork, according to preliminary estimates being put together by council engineers.

Cork County Council chief executive Tim Lucey has written to councillors pointing out that clean-up costs to date have already topped €5m. He estimates that another €15m-€20m will be required to repair roads, bridges, and collapsed embankments.

A more comprehensive account of damage is expected to be given to councillors by officials when they meet in County Hall next Monday.

However, Mr Lucey said the estimates did not include the cost of raising flood barriers in Fermoy and Mallow which are separately recoupable from the Office of Public Works and damage to coastal structures which are being separately complied by the Department of Agriculture.

Mr Lucey said the prolonged nature of the latest flooding meant it had caused far more damage than previous events.

He said that €7.4m damage had been caused to roads as a result of flooding in June 2012 and a further €2.4m damage had been caused to roads in the three West Cork peninsulas last September.

The council chief said it would take around two weeks to get an accurate picture of the damage caused by the current month-long periods of torrential rain.

“As the recent flooding has been far more widespread and of far longer duration than either of the other two events, the cost of road and associated bridges and embankment damage could be in the order of €15m-€20m,” he said.

Mr Lucey told councillors, in correspondence, the council will be seeking significant funding from central government to cover the cost of repairs “to enable progression of repairs and restructuring works as a matter of urgency”.

“Our capacity to commence such works clearly is dependent on the ongoing weather situation and notification of funding availability,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mayor of County Cork Cllr John Paul O’Shea (Ind) said the Government had to step up to the plate as the council did not have the money to carry out all the repairs.

“Cork County Council is ready and willing to respond to this crisis and capable to restore our roads, but only if we get the financial supported needed from the government,” he said.

Cllr Cathal Rasmussen said he had been in contact with Labour colleague, Innovation Minister Sean Sherlock, seeking the necessary funding.

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