Update on funding provided following ex-Hurricane Ophelia and other major weather events

Published on Tuesday, 02 Jan 2018
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On 16 October, ex-Hurricane Ophelia impacted the country bringing widespread disruption and damage to many parts. This was an unprecedented weather event for Ireland with record breaking wind-speeds that precipitated the issuing, by Met Eireann, of a RED LEVEL severe weather warning for the entire country.

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.

Despite the damage and disruption the recovery was remarkably swift, with practically all roads reopened within 24 hours of the storm and all those who were without water having their supply restored within 4 days and all electricity customers reconnected within 8 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 was noted also that the systems in place to prioritise and maintain contact with vulnerable customers worked well and should be carried forward. 

In acknowledgement of the exceptional nature of the preparation and response activities carried out by the local authorities in responding to ex-Hurricane Ophelia and the fact that the costs of these activities could not be met from existing resources the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government is making just over €7m available to local authorities to support this work. (See below for breakdown by local authority).

Flooding on Inishowen Peninsula, County Donegal 

On 22 August 2017, an extreme pluvial rainfall event occurred which caused extensive damage and disruption in north Donegal, particularly to the community in the Inishowen Peninsula.

Damage and disruption was widespread with 59 households forced to evacuate their homes due to inundation by floodwaters and damage caused by landslides. Infrastructural damage was extensive, principally in terms of the roads network, with many bridges and culverts badly damaged or washed away. The total cost of damage caused to the roads network as reported by Donegal County Council to the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport is €15.3m.

Despite the widespread damage and disruption the response, led by Donegal County Council in co-operation with the other PRAs, was swift and effective. This Department has made €1.73m available to Donegal County Council relating to response and clean-up costs associated with that event.

Flooding in Mountmellick, County Laois

On 22 November, severe flooding affected Mountmellick following an extreme rainfall event that caused the River Barrow to overflow its banks. Roads were impassable due to floodwaters and some homes and businesses in Mountmellick were inundated.

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. Emergency accommodation was provided by the council for those households affected.

The Department has provided funding of just over €208,000 to Laois County Council relating to response and clean-up costs associated with this event.

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.

Costs

Following examination and validation, eligible recoupment claims for response and clean-up activities associated with recent severe weather have been fully paid by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government 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.

Breakdown of Costs Recouped

Recoupment claims arising from ex-Hurricane Ophelia are summarised below, by local authority:

 Table 1

 Local Authority

 Amount Recouped  

 Carlow County Council

 €59,829.00

 Cavan County Council

 €22,051.00

 Clare County Council

 €70,310.00

 Cork City Council

 €1,986,474.00

 Cork County Council

 €1,492,829.00

 Donegal County Council

 €55,176.00

 Dublin City Council

 -  

 Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council   

 -  

 Fingal County Council

 €152,790.33

 Galway City Council

 €115,004.00

 Galway County Council

 €216,092.00

 Kerry County Council

 €161,816.17

 Kildare County Council

 €104,086.32

 Kilkenny County Council

 €317,245.00

 Laois County Council

 €133,102.08

 Leitrim County Council

 €15,990.70

 Limerick County Council

 €391,041.00

 Longford County Council

 €23,736.33

 Louth County Council

 €9,385.35

 Mayo County Council

 €5,713.74

 Meath County Council

 €48,105.00

 Monaghan County Council

 €11,989.66

 Offaly County Council

 €226,160.00

 Roscommon County Council

 €30,488.70

 Sligo County Council

 €53,655.03

 South Dublin County Council

 €41,504.52

 Tipperary County Council

 €416,513.00

 Waterford County Council

 €507,450.00

 Westmeath County Council

 €123,701.56

 Wexford County Council

 €184,740.26

 Wicklow County Council

 €50,526.73

 Total

 €7,027,506.48

The total cost of recoupment claims arising from the three severe weather events are summarised below:

 Table 2

 Event

 Response and Clean-up Costs  

 Ex-Hurricane Ophelia

 €7,027,506.48

 Inishowen Flooding

 €1,729,122.41

 Mountmellick Flooding  

 €208,727.00

 Total

 €8,965,355.89