Nearly €9m provided for storm clean-up in 2017

A system to maintain contact with vulnerable customers is to be carried forward

Nearly €9m provided for storm clean-up in 2017

Trees are uprooted in Finglas, Dublin in the aftermath of Storm Ophelia | Image: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie.

The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government says almost €9m was made available to local authorities last year after major weather events.

In October, ex-Hurricane Ophelia impacted the country bringing widespread disruption and damage to many parts.

The storm caused widespread damage and disruption - with 385,000 businesses and households without power and 109,000 people without water at the peak of the storm.

The department says despite the damage and disruption, practically all roads reopened within 24 hours of the storm and all those who were without water having their supply restored within four days and all electricity customers reconnected within eight days.

"The speed of this work was enabled through the coordination work of the local authorities who led the response at local level in cooperation with the other Principal Response Agencies (PRAs), An Garda Síochána and the Health Service Executive (HSE), and through close collaboration between essential services and critical infrastructure providers", it says.

Recoupment claims arising from ex-Hurricane Ophelia | Source: Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government

It was also noted that the systems in place to prioritise and maintain contact with vulnerable customers worked well "and should be carried forward."

Storm Ophelia moving over Ireland | File photo

Other events in the past 12 months also saw funding supplied to assist with clean-up operations.

In August, extreme rainfall in north Donegal caused extensive damage and disruption - particularly to the community in the Inishowen Peninsula.

Some 59 households were forced to evacuate their homes, while infrastructural damage was extensive, principally in terms of roads and bridges.

The total cost of damage caused to the roads network as reported by Donegal County Council to the Department of Transport is €15.3m.

The Department of Local Government has made €1.73m available to Donegal County Council relating to response and clean-up costs associated with this event.

Back in November, severe flooding affected Mountmellick following an extreme rainfall event that caused the River Barrow to overflow its banks

Laois County Council activated the fire service, Civil Defence, engineering staff and outdoor crews.

It was deemed necessary to arrange for the evacuation of a number of houses in two estates, and emergency accommodation was provided by the council for those affected.

The department provided funding of just over €208,000 to Laois County Council relating to this.

The aftermath of Storm Ophelia | Image: ESB

The department says: "While more severe pluvial events such as occurred recently in Inishowen and Mountmellick may be anticipated, it should be noted that, despite continuous monitoring of weather systems by Met Éireann and the operation of the Meteo-alarm weather warning alerts, it is not possible currently to forecast the actual intensity of sudden pluvial rainfall or the locations where a pluvial event might occur."

It adds that eligible recoupment claims have been fully paid by the department as follows:

  • €7,027,506.48 to a range of local authorities relating to response and clean-up activities associated with Ex-Hurricane Ophelia

    €1,729,122 to Donegal County Council relating to response and clean-up costs associated with flooding in Inishowen

    €208,727 for Laois County Council relating to response and clean-up costs associated with flooding in Mountmellick