County councillors have called for repairs to the coastal areas, damaged in last winter’s storms, to be completed and in many cases started before severe weather returns. They have also requested a full explanation from relevant Government departments to explain the delays in funding.
The delay in completing coastal repair works was highlighted at Monday’s Galway County Council meeting where the latest flooding update revealed that the Department of the Environment has identified €9,491,055 is needed for repair works under various headings. An additional €477,750 already has been allocated for the council’s initial storm response.
In order to get approval for the €9,491,055, it is necessary to agree and get approval on each element of works with the relevant Government departments.
A panel of six consultants will assist with the required design works. The funding will come under various Government departments including the Department of the Marine (repairs to piers ), the OPW (coastal protection ), and the DTTAS (road repairs and tourism infrastructure repairs ).
“The money is very slow in coming,” said Cllr Tomás Ó Curraoin who noted that “it’s holiday time” and yet the stone armour at Spiddal Pier and Barna Pier has not been repaired.
Acknowledging that council staff have all they can, Cllr Seosamh Ó Cualáin said it was the second half of the year and there was still a lot of repair work to be done. “Are there adequate resources in place to deal with the damage?” Cllr Ó Cualáin asked.
“North West Connemara was hit by eight storms in a week. I thank the council for the remedial work already done, but we’ve been warned that September could bring more severe weather. On Inisbofin, the North Beach was washed out by the second storm. The islanders had to take action and only for that, the island would have been split in two,” said Cllr Tom Healy.
In response, acting director of services for roads, transportatinon, marine, and general services, Liam Gavin, said a list of the required repairs had been brought to the attention of the Department of the Environment, but no funding had been received. Funding was given for roads and repairs in Connemara and South Galway and the works would be completed this year. Money had also been received for repairs to piers and harbours and those would be done also. However, there was a large number of coastal areas that were badly damaged and priority had to be given to critical repairs and to existing works.
Funding has not been received for repairs to the North Shore and it had been put on a list as a priority, but would be a longer-term project, he said.
“We’re looking at ways to work with the OPW on this and chunks of funding to be made available over a period of time.”
Forty coastal work schemes at a cost of €15 million had been submitted to the department and the OPW. Funding has not been approved yet.