North Tipperary county Council is going to have to revise its estimate for emergency funding to cope with the storms of the past two months. The council had originally estimated it would need E580,000 to repair the damage from the St Stephen’s Day storm and subsequent bad weather.
However, county manager Joe MacGrath told councillors at this Monday’s North Tipperary County Council meeting that the figure would have to be revised following last Wednesday’s horrendous storm.
“We will need a serious amount of money to deal with the issues and roads. It has been raining for two months and it has not been the soft rain we are used to,” he said.
Mr MacGrath warned that water tables were at a level never seen before and it would take several months for them to get back to normal.
Director of services Marcus O’Connor said that at some point last Wednesday every road in North Tiperary was blocked, while the M7 was blocked on Thursday to allow the ESB repair fallen cables.
He revealed that only one worker was injured in the storm throughout County Tipperary, and that was in the south of the county.
Earlier, Mayor Ger Darcy led the tributes to the council’s staff who, he said had been out day and night removing trees in atrocious conditions following Wednesday’s storm.
He also praised the Gardai, ESB and Eircom workers as well as local farmers who had pushed fallen trees off roads to make them passable.
Listing the fallout from the storm, Cllr Micheal Lowry said it was the fifth worse storm ever to hit the country and three roads in his area were blocked.
He called for temporary works left go in October / November to be recalled to deal with the situation.
Referring to the estimated 1,000 trees that fell on public roads on Wednesday, Cllr John Hogan said the council needed a policy on roadside planting, a call that was backed by Cllr Mattie Ryan “Coole”, who said there should also be a policy on landscaping.
“It was a miracle no one was killed with 1,000 trees down,” said Cllr Mattie Ryan.
Cllr John “Rocky” McGrath had a novel way to dispose of the timber. Instead of leaving it to rot in fields, he said it should be offered to clubs to sell for fundraising.
Cllr John Carroll urged that the council write to Junior Minister Alan Kelly and Deputy Noel Coonan to seek to have the council’s road grant allocation returned to its E2m figure of 2013.
Cllr Michael O’Meara said flooding in Lower Ormond was not being caused by the council but by other State agencies who would not allow them to work on dredging rivers.
“Lough Derg has been used as a dumping ground. Bord na Mona has dumped peat into it. The high levels in the River Shannon are manmade,” he said.