Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Questions (14)

Éamon Ó Cuív


14. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the amount of money approved by the Office of Public Works relating to the storm damage in January of this year; the amount of this money it is hoped to spend this year in repairing the damage caused and in preventative measures; the amount of this money approved for offshore islands; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23647/14]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Government decided on 11th February 2014 to allocate total funding of up to €69.5m for repair of public infrastructure and facilities damaged by the severe weather events in the period 13th December 2013 to 6th January 2014 based on estimates of costs provided by Local Authorities to the Department of the Environment Community and Local Government (DoECLG). This allocation included up to €19.6m for repairs of existing coastal protection and flood defences, to be provided through the Vote of the Office of Public Works (OPW).

The DoECLG wrote to all local authorities notifying them of their allocations in respect of each category of infrastructure covered by the Government Decision. Each Council was directed to submit overall programmes of works to the DoECLG detailing how it proposes to spend the total allocation that is being made available. The Council must also submit the relevant elements of its programme to each Department from whom funding will be made available for consideration of technical aspects of the proposed works. In preparing this programme, it is a matter for the local authorities to satisfy themselves that works they propose to undertake fall within the ambit of those covered by the Government Decision.

The programmes of coastal protection and flood defence projects received by the OPW are reviewed having regard to the Council's allocations and related guidance issued by the DoECLG to the local authorities in relation to works that may qualify for funding.

To date, total funding of €18.240m has been approved and allocated by the OPW to nine Local Authorities that have submitted programmes of works as directed by the DoECLG. This funding includes €0.93m in respect of approved projects on 12 off-shore islands. A further €0.055m has been allocated for works on islands that are linked to the mainland by causeways.

The commencement and progression of the works is a matter for the local authorities. The OPW has informed the local authorities that in order to assist them in a practical way and to avoid any potential cash-flow issues, it will consider requests for advance funding of up to 80% of the estimated cost of approved projects where a contract for works has been made. It is not possible at this point to estimate the precise amount that will be spent by the local authorities or that will be drawn down by them from the OPW this year.

Question No. 15 answered with Question No. 6.
Question No. 16 answered with Question No. 12.