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Acting Director of service for physical development, Tom Tiernan wants to reduce public liability claims through investment in footpath improvement works around Ennis.

Storm funding still unknown

CLARE County Council is still waiting to find out how much, if any, funding will be provided for repairs to infrastructure damaged in the February storm.

Most of the damage from both the January and February storms occurred in the West Clare Municipal District but more than seven months on, the council is none the wiser on how much money it will receive from Government.

At the recent district meeting, Councillor Michael Hillery asked when repairs to Spanish Point beach would be completed, following the January/February storms.

Tom Tiernan, Clare County Council’s senior engineer responsible for transportation, responded in writing outlining the work completed in Spanish Point to date.

He said decking and access steps were rebuilt and some retaining walls were constructed. Footpath and bridge works were carried out and replacement of railings is continuing.

“Outstanding works include kerbing and other relatively minor concrete works, fencing and more than 100m of retaining wall. The retaining wall is the single largest component of what remains outstanding,” Mr Tiernan stated.

He went on to say that the council could not say when work would be finished at Spanish Point without confirmation of funds, adding that the council is trying to establish how much is likely to be contributed from Government departments.

“Most of the damage in Spanish Point resulted from the storm which occurred on February 1.
“Unfortunately, to date, no response has emerged from Government in response to the council’s application for funding on foot of storms which occurred in February – a response to this application is being pursued vigorously.

“Unfortunately, it isn’t possible, at present, to outline the clear position regarding when the outstanding works at Spanish Point will be completed, given the lack of clarity regarding the funding position,” Mr Tiernan concluded.

At the meeting councillors expressed their frustration.

“The winter is fast approaching, Spanish Point is waiting for work to be finalised and so is every other area on the coast,” Councillor Richard Nagle said, adding that “communities are left in limbo” because they don’t know if necessary works will be carried out.

Councillor Richard Nagle said communities have been left in limbo on storm damage funding
Councillor Richard Nagle said communities have been left in limbo on storm damage funding

He recalled “a succession of ministers that visited the coastline and saw the devastation caused for themselves” and said that it was adding “insult to injury” that no explanation of how much funding would be available given that a “quick response” and “joined-up thinking” had been promised.

Councillor Christy Curtin described the treatment of the local authority by central government as “less than satisfactory”.

West Clare’s acting senior engineer, Cyril Feeney, explained that “it is very difficult to progress work around the county when we don’t know what the total spend will be”.

Councillor Nagle described the situation as “totally unfair to the communities” and said “surely seven months on we should be in a position to get a couple of lines of a letter to see what this local authority can do and what it cannot”.

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