Cork city and county have been allocated an additional €1.25m to assist in the repair roads damaged by recent severe weather events, the highest amount awarded to any single county nationwide.
The Special Maintenance Grant, which will amount to just over €18m nationwide, was announced by Minister for Transport Shane Ross.
“In deciding on the allocations I was very conscious of the fact that in certain areas of the country the fabric of the regional and local road network has suffered significant damage as a result of severe weather events,” Mr Ross said. “In some cases local authorities have been faced with damage caused by repeated severe weather incidents.”
€15m is being shared among local authorities countrywide, with an additional €3m to be spent by Transport Infrastructure Ireland on the national road network. Cork County Council is to receive the lion’s share of the grant, €1.1m while Cork City Council has been allocated €150,000.
It is a little over a year since Storm Ophelia ushered in an extraordinary 12-month period for weather in Ireland. Cork took the major brunt of the exceptional high winds during Ophelia, with the roof ripped off Douglas Community School and a collapsed stand in Turners Cross Stadium. Since then the city and county have had to contend with a range of unusual weather conditions and local councillors have been calling for extra funding for close to a year.
“Extreme weather events over the last year, such as Storm Eleanor, Storm Emma, flooding incidents and the summer drought have had a major impact on the regional and local road network,” Mr Ross said. “These events combined with the extended period of reduced funding for road maintenance following the economic downturn have left the road network much more vulnerable to damage.
“I consider that local authorities are best placed to assess priorities within their areas and to decide their work programmes. These grants are to supplement local authorities own resources expenditure on regional and local roads and do not represent the total investment in regional and local roads for this year.”