City council gets full storm funding from Environment Department

The Galway City Council has received “100 per cent” of the storm repair funding for which it applied in its preliminary estimates sent to the Department of the Environment, Community, and Local Government, according to acting director of services for transport and infrastructure, recreation and amenity, Billy Dunne, who told this month’s meeting of Galway City Council “what we submitted, we got”.

Referring to the updated report on storm damage, including Leisureland, and the submission for funding, Mr Dunne explained that the local authority received an allocation of funding on March 7 last to the tune of €1,262,375 from the Department of Environment. “This covers the estimates sent in our preliminary application,” said Mr Dunne, who then outlined the breakdown of the funding, with €44,500 going towards roads repairs - including the roadway leading to Silverstrand; €105,000 for coastal protection repairs - Silverstrand, the walkway from Blackrock to Birdoo, and the Promenade; €612,875 for tourism infrastructure - works on the Promenade, repair damage to Silverstrand, Blackrock to Birdoo walkway, and Ballyloughane beach; and €500,000 for other facilities such as Leisureland. The Department has requested that works deemed significant for economic activity be prioritised and completed before the summer tourist season where feasible.

In addition to this €1,262,375, a further €187,000 has been made available by the Department of Environment to Galway City Council to recoup the costs of responding to the storms during December 12, 2013, and January 27, 2014. This includes the costs of response, clean-up works, and necessary immediate works which were undertaken in the aftermath of the storms.

The report also outlined how an application was made to the Office of Public Works (OPW ) on February 19 under the Coastal Storm Flooding 2014 Scheme for a sum of €205,000 which will be used for the re-instatement of flood defences and coastal protection structures to their pre-storm conditions.

Meanwhile, Minister of State with the Responsibility for the OPW, Brian Hayes, also confirmed last week that a figure of €105,000 to Galway City Council and €1,144,800 to Galway County Council has been made available for the repair of damaged coastal protection and flood defence works.

This is part of a total allocation of €19.6 million which comes following a government decision taken on February 11 last to assist local authorities in repair and restoration works. It is based on estimates provided by affected local authorities to the Department of the Environment, Community, and Local Government.

Welcoming the announcement, Galway West senator Hildegarde Naughton said the funding is vital to ensure that damage to infrastructure is repaired quickly so as those visiting enjoy the city at its best. She added that to continue the downward unemployment trend, businesses in the city need assurance that the infrastructure is maintained and repaired as required and that she will be fully supporting and lobbying for Galway to be prioritised for permanent flood defences and the foreshore licence for Silverstrand.

Senator Naughton said: “Our festival season is soon approaching and in addition to the wonderful artistic talent that attracts visitors, our promenade is world famous. I am sincerely delighted and relieved that this money has been made available. The prom, in addition to requiring repairs due to storm damage, also needs the reinstatement and improvement of its rock armour. This can now commence. This is a much needed boost for Galway coming into the tourist season.”

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