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A view of the sea defence at Clohaninchy, Quilty where the water surged and washed away the material between Lough Donnell and the sea. Photograph by John Kelly.

Clare storm damage funding ready for use – Minister Harris

Government funding for storm damage repairs in Clare has been allocated and is ready for use, according to Simon Harris, Minister of State with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works.

He has outlined the position regarding Government funding for storm damage repairs for Clare County Council and in particular recent reports about Clohaninchy. This immediately follows a meeting between department officials and their council counterparts on this Thursday. The minister said said the discussions would progress matters and lead to a meeting with local residents in September.

Minister Harris said, “I note with concern that recent reports suggest that funding to carry out repairs following the devastating storms in early 2014 has not been allocated and that my Office has not been in contact with the local authorities concerned to outline the assistance available to them.

“The position is clear:following the storms the Government allocated a total of up to €16.8m for storm damage repairs to Clare County Council of which up to €8.276m is for repairs to damaged public coastal protection infrastructure. The balance of this amount is allocated for repairs to other public infrastructure such as piers, harbours and roads.”

Minister Harris said a programme of works for the expenditure of the €8.276m has been agreed with Clare County Council and he now expects the council to progress with this programme of works, as a matter of urgency.

“It was made clear to all local authorities that this funding was being made available for repair and not for the construction of entirely new coastal protection works, such as those being proposed at Cloughaninchy.
“In any event, the submission received from the council in relation to Clohaninchy was only at a summary level and could not be regarded as satisfying the standards required for the investment of substantial public funds in a scheme of major capital works.”

Minister Harris further commented, “My Office has an excellent working relationship with local authorities and continues to liaise with them on all the various schemes administered by this Office.There has been numerous exchanges of correspondence with the local authorities, including Clare County Council, in relation to the storm damage funding.

“It is important to point out that decisions on major capital works schemes, such as those proposed for Clohaninchy, require the necessary planning and feasibility studies to be carried out by the council to ensure all options are fully assessed and considered and to facilitate the allocation of scarce public resources on a priority basis nationally.”

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