Minister: We’re still in the assessment stage

Minister: We’re still in the assessment stage
Minister for Housing and Planning, Eoghan Murphy with the Emergency Management Group for the South Region which covers Cork and Kerry. The Cork City and County Council Chief Executives were in attendance as were Garda Chief Superintendents, Con Cadogan and Barry McPolin and Superintendent Colm O'Sullivan and representatives from the ESB and Bord Gais.

MONEY will not be an issue for local authorities during the cleanup of storm Ophelia, the Minister for Local Government Eoghan Murphy has promised.

The Minister visited Cork to meet with emergency response coordinators as the massive cleanup operation continued across the city and county.

It has emerged that around 30 buildings in the city have suffered structural damage while thousands of people still have no electricity, water and broadband services.

Cork County Council has received more than 760 calls about fallen trees and up to 70 roads were forced to close.

In the city, fallen power lines were complicating the cleanup operations and officials said it will be two more days before normality returns to most areas.

On his visit to the city, Minister Murphy said: “Money won’t be an issue. We will be there to provide all the support from Government for every part of the country that we can - to the local authorities to make sure we can deal with things like the ESB connection power-outages, issues around Irish Water, issues around road closures, and any structural damage.”

However, the Minister was unable to provide a figure for the total estimated costs of the storm.

“We’re still in the assessment phase. We began last night with the national emergency coordination group and actually, the assessment began here in Cork because Cork and Kerry took the first hit from the storm."

"As it passed, they were able to get crews out to start taking an assessment of damage. A lot of assessment continues today. When we look at some of our coastal assets and infrastructure it will take a few more days of further assessments.”

Local authorities will be given all resources need, he added.

“Whatever resources they need they’ll get. If they need help from the army, they can request it and some local authorities have done that. If there is a need for particular funding, let’s say for example a school roof has blown off and we know it has, that can be provided through the Department of Education."

"We do have a special scheme for emergency building work so that’s how we will handle this as the requests come in over the next few days.” 

Minister Murphy praised the work of both City and County Council and first responders during the crisis.

“I think the response from the officials and all of the agencies, the first responders and the local authorities has been excellent, we’re very happy with the work they have done.

"They’ve been doing a huge amount of work. Cork and Kerry took the brunt of the storm, but the local authority workers here has been that first response, they’ve been on the ground, over the course of the weekend, all of yesterday, all through the night and again today. 

"They have a huge amount of work to get through for the rest of the week, so I think it’s important that we come together and get a full appraisal of what’s happening locally.”

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