Tuesday, 21 January 2014
Department of Environment, Community and Local Government
Severe Weather Events Expenditure
431. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government if an application will be made to the EU solidarity fund to seek financial assistance with the clean-up and repair costs of the damage caused along the Irish coastline by recent storms. [2437/14]
434. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government in view of the fact that the management of Kerry County Council has finalised its estimated figures for restoration works to be carried out along the Kerry coastline, if he will confirm that funding will be released from EU solidarity fund or from central funding. [2465/14]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 431 and 434 together.
During the period from 13 December 2014 to 6 January 2014 Ireland was subjected to a series of severe storms, affecting the country roughly once every three days. In addition to the very strong winds, there were periods of extremely heavy rain and a lot of thunderstorm activity. These storms coincided with high spring tides and created severe and damaging conditions in a number of coastal areas.
On 14 January I brought an Interim Report to Government on the storms, compiled by my Department in its capacity as Lead Government Department for the response to severe weather. At the request of Government, my Department is seeking more detailed reports from local authorities, to be provided over the coming 2 weeks, on the anticipated repair and recovery works, including related costings. This will enable Government, through the specific areas of responsibility of relevant Departments and Agencies, to support the local authorities on recovery measures. In the meantime, Government is exploring all possible sources of funding to meet the costs which have arisen from the storm damage, including contact with the EU about a possible application under the Solidarity Funds programme. Any Government decision on an application to the Fund will be made once the full cost of damage has been assessed.