BY JACKIE KEOGH
AN estimated €5m has been spent on clean-up operations and road repairs in Cork County in the two weeks from December 19th to January 3rd, but a Council official said the total cost could be as high as €20m.
A more detailed account of the cost of dealing with the flood damage will soon be available, but there are indications that it could reach the €15 or €20m mark.
On Monday, preliminary estimates were submitted to the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management, which is under the auspices of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.
Cork County Council’s chief executive, Tim Lucey, explained that the information was sought ‘as part of an information gathering exercise as opposed to it being a specific request for a detailed schedule of works required, and without any commitment of funding as yet.’
He said the €5m estimate is just an estimate and that the very extensive infrastructural damage across the county could take up to two weeks to get an accurate estimate of the costs. Mr Lucey pointed out that the cost of the damage done to the roads across the county in June 2012 was in excess of €7.4m, and the cost of repairs in the three West Cork peninsulas in September was in the order of €2.4m.
As the recent flooding has been more widespread and of a far longer duration than either of the two events, he estimated that the cost of road, bridge and embankment damage could be in the order of €15m to €20m.
He said: ‘A full assessment will take a number of weeks and is dependent in some areas on flood waters receding to allow detailed examination’, while damage to coastal structures is being separately complied for the Department of Agriculture.
Mr Lucey said members of Cork County Council could be assured that the Council will be seeking significant funding, on top of its normal roads and other funding allocations, from national Government for 2016, to enable progression of repair and restructuring works as a matter of urgency. ‘But our capacity to commence such works is dependent on the ongoing weather and notification of funding availability,’ he warned.