Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Questions (375)

Dara Calleary

Question:

375. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if moneys allocated towards the repair of flood and storm-damaged infrastructure in County Mayo are being diverted from other funding set aside for other developments such as harbours and slipways; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11954/14]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Following consideration of a report from me on the severe weather that affected Ireland in the period from mid-December 2013 to 6 January 2014, the Government decided on 11 February that a sum of up to €70 million will be made available for a programme of repair and remediation works. €62 m of this will be for local authorities in the areas worst affected by severe weather to help affected communities by restoring roads, coastal protection and other infrastructure and amenities/ facilities/ infrastructure, including piers and harbours. The Government decision was based on estimates provided by local authorities, including those received from Mayo County Council. Requests for funding of new works to protect coastal areas have been referred to the Office for Public Works and are not covered by the Government decision of 11 February 2014.

The Report on the Severe Weather from 13 December 2013 to 6 January 2014 contains details of estimates of the cost of damage caused on a county by county basis and has been published on my Department’s website, www.environ.ie. The arrangements for the drawing down of the funds by local authorities on foot of the Government decision were finalised following discussions between local authorities, my Department, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, the Office of Public Works, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the Department of Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Local authorities, including Mayo County Council, have been notified of the sums being made available to them and have been requested to prioritise works which are significant for economic activity, with particular regard to the forthcoming tourist season. It is proposed to make a sum of up to €6,396,900 available to Mayo County Council for a programme of repair works to roads, piers and harbours, coastal protection repairs, tourism infrastructure and other facilities which are classified as necessary community infrastructure. The sum of €6,396,900 for Mayo is based on Mayo County Council’s estimates of repair costs provided to my Department and is allocated across a number of headings, as shown in the following table.

Local Authority

Roads Infrastructure

Piers and Harbours

Coastal Protection Repairs

Tourism Infrastructure

Other Facilities

Total

Mayo County Council

1,620,500

382,500

4,205,800

189,900

0

6,396,900

Each Local authority has been requested to prepare and submit a programme of works for the projects identified showing the indicative timescales and drawdown profiles. These will be submitted directly to the relevant funding Departments/ Agencies. Local authorities have been informed that there will be a degree of flexibility available for prioritising projects to include works necessary as a result of more recent storms within the sub-headings of the overall funding envelope, pending preparation of more comprehensive assessment of the impacts of these recent storms. The flexibility in prioritising projects indicated above is permissible within individual programmes (e.g. roads) and not across the various programmes.

In addition to the above funding arrangement, a once-off allocation of €509,000 is being made to Mayo County Council to recoup the costs associated with the response to the storms from the period 13 Dec 2013 to 27 Jan 2014. This includes the costs of response, clean-up works and necessary immediate works which were undertaken in the aftermath of the storms. This allocation will be drawn down from my Department on provision of appropriate documentation.

Further considerable damage has been caused by flooding and storm events that have occurred since 27 January. Details on damage caused and estimated repair costs in relation to these more recent events will be assessed when they are available.