Counting the cost of the floods

Council bill alone tops €770,000

The recent flooding experienced in Co Leitrim has already cost Leitrim County Council in excess of €771,000 according to figures revealed at the January local authority meeting.

Detailing a report into the flooding in the county since December 5, 2015, Senior Engineer, Shay O'Connor, told the chamber that, in the 19 days between December 5 and Christmas Eve last year Leitrim County Council ran up a bill of €477,000 for works carried out in direct relation to flooding and flood prevention.

A detailed breakdown of these costs had been, said Mr O'Connor, submitted to the Government and “we expect to be fully compensated for these”.

Subsequent to this, Mr O'Connor said that the Council had generated a second bill for €294,000 for works carried out from December 24, 2015 to the present date.

"These have also been submitted to the Government and we await confirmation on these. The Government has also advised that there will be funding available to repair damage caused to public infrastructure. We await details of this but will be making a submission when flood waters recede," he said.

To this end the council are still working on costings for works needed to repair roads and bridges damaged throughout the county as a result of the flooding and no estimates have been made for works which will be necessary to stop further flooding in the area in future.

Mr O'Connor said that in 2009 the Council was told that the flooding experienced was a one in 100 or 200 year event.

At the time the water levels peaked in Carrick-on-Shannon at 45.37m and in Lough Allen at 50.77m. However, he noted, the levels in 2015 saw water peaking at 45.017m in Carrick-on-Shannon and 50.6m in Lough Allen.

"It is clear that this is something we will have to deal with every five or six years," acknowledged the Leitrim County Council Engineer.

"This is no longer a once in a 100 or 200 year event and we need to see how we can raise roads above water levels or to a level which will make them still accessible (in the event of flooding)."