REVEALED: Devastation to Longford roads caused by Storm Emma to cost taxpayer millions

Clean up bill estimated in region of €5m

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Clean up costs Storm Emma

Longford County Council's total clean up bill associated with Storm Emma is expected to cost somewhere in the region of €5m

The clean up costs linked to the worst storm Longford has experienced in more than 30 years is set to cost upwards of €5m, the Leader understands.

Central government chiefs are to be pressed into setting aside emergency funding to tackle the huge repair bill which has been put on the damage caused to Longford carriageways over the past 48 hours.

Several local politicians said they intend lobbying senior government officials over the coming days with a view to ring-fencing contingency funds as soon as the predicted thaw from Storm Emma sets in.

Cathaoirleach of Longford County Council Cllr Martin Mulleady said he was in regular contact with local authority bosses locally over the issue, stressing pressure for State aid would be required almost immediately.

"There will have to be a meeting about this," he told longfordleader.ie this morning.

"Central government will have to come up with extra funding to deal with the way the roads will be left.

"It's not just Longford, every council will need it (additional monies) but I am concerned about Longford, so yes, we will be seeking extra funding, simple as."

He was joined in those overtures by Longford Fine Gael group leader Cllr Micheal Carrigy.

The main government party's general election candidate for Longford said he remained upbeat specific funding dealing with road repair costs would be made available.

"We (Longford County Council) will be looking for extra funding," he said.

"With all the salt which has been put onto the roads and will the freezing conditions we have had, the extra resources put in by Longford County Council will have to be compensated for.

Cllr Carrigy was coy not to be put a precise figure on the likely overall bill counties like Longford were facing in the wake of Storm Emma but indicated it would more than likely top six figures.

"It's hard to say at this stage but I do know that for each of the salt runs it costs €8,500 per run and that has been done three times already which adds up to €25,000 per day," he said.

"But, we (Longford County Council) have an excellent Executive and roads staff and I believe that (emergency) funding will be forthcoming."

Another to wade into that debate was Independent Cllr Mark Casey.

He went a step further however, claiming Longford's total clean up bill associated with Storm Emma was expected to cost somewhere in the region of €5m.

"When Storm Ophelia hit south Longford last year the total damage to roads in south Longford was put at €2.2m so if you look at the rest of the county your talking somewhere in the region of €5m which is a conservative estimate," he said.

Cllr Casey also called for Minister for Local Government Eoghan Murphy to allocate supplementary funding to Longford following a recent seven figure investment provided by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).

"Shane Ross' Department (of Transport) stepped up when they (TII) gave around €1.7m for roads around Ballymahon. 

"Now, Eoghan Murphy needs to step up and make funding available for more local roads in this county," he said.

Not finished there, Cllr Casey turned the heat on the county's two locally elected politicians Cllr Carrigy and Fianna Faíl's Joe Flaherty to ensure Longford was not overlooked when the spoils of emergency relief funding is shared out.

"With all the potential TDs in Longford who are talking enough about doing this and that, maybe they might deliver something that is real and physical rather than just talking about it," he brashly remarked.

"Anyone can talk about it but it's what they can deliver on the ground and I haven't seen too much of that yet.

"Maybe this is a good time to go out and get something really meaningful for Longford, because at the end of the day, delivery is what it's all about."