Councillors angst at storm Ophelia debt

Eoghan Dalton Reports

With Met Éireann warning that dangerous conditions are on the way for later in the week, it’s now emerged the Government still owes up to 70 per cent in funding to Waterford City & County Council in the wake of Storm Ophelia.
Deep infrastructural damage occurred while over 2,000 trees were felled across the county during the destruction last October.

The post-Ophelia clean-up begins in Tramore. The Government still owes the local authority considerable funds, according to City & County Councillors. 		| Photo: Noel Browne

The post-Ophelia clean-up begins in Tramore. The Government still owes the local authority considerable funds, according to City & County Councillors. | Photo: Noel Browne


In response, €500,000 in emergency funding was provided to the local authority, with a further €1.32 million promised to repair structural damage to coastal defences, roads and bridges.
Cllr Davy Daniels (Ind) asked Council management about the funds at last Thursday’s plenary meeting of Waterford City and County Council.
Director of Services for Roads, Water and the Environment Fergus Galvin said the emergency relief delivered in the wake of the storm was for immediate clean-up, but the €1.32m still owed will have to be recouped from various departments.

“The second component was just over one million euro in long term structural damage. There’s about 40 items ranging from damage to harbours, piers, coastal infrastructure, damage to road surfaces, bridges. There was a whole mix of stuff ranging from €5,000 worth of damage in some cases to over €20,000 in other cases.”
“We are going to have to apply to the Department of Transport, Transport Infrastructure Ireland, the Department of the Marine in respect of coastal infrastructure, to the OPW in some cases, to the Department of the Environment and we’re in the process of doing that. We’re hoping that over the next year or two we will get some additional funding to allow us to pick up some of the long term structural damage.”
Cllr Daniels was unhappy that there’s funds outstanding, saying “it’s no wonder the country is the way it is” before being cut off by Deputy Mayor and acting chair of the meeting, Cllr John Cummins (FG).

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