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Cork East Fine Gael TD, David Stanton has called on the Department of Transport to provide additional funding to supplement Cork County Council’s 2024 roads budget following the damage caused in the wake of Storm Babet.

Cork County Council was recently allocated total funding of €83,199,560 for the repair and maintenance of local and regional roads with a special severe weather allocation of €13,000,000 granted this year.

Raising the matter with the Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Jack Chambers TD, David Stanton said: “I understand Cork County Council submitted an estimate of the damage which was something in the region of between €50 million and €60 million. I have seen some of these roads and their state is absolutely diabolical.

“The Taoiseach told me last week that in Donegal, there was a special allocation made over and above the estimate that went in. I want to know if the Department of Transport has made an application to the Department of Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform looking for a special allocation over and above and if so, what reaction did it get?

“The other thing I would like to see happening is that when these roads are restored and brought up to a standard, that they would be brought up to a proper standard, that the drainage would be looked after, and that if we have another event like what we just had, there would be some chance of the water flowing away at the sides of the road, and not tearing the roads up as has happened”.

In response Minister Chambers said: “An assessment of the full extent of the damage following Storm Babet in Cork is still being finalised with surveys on impacted bridge infrastructure ongoing. Some €22.5 million has been made available to assist in the repair of the significant damage to the regional and local road network, with Cork County Council allocated €13 million to conduct repair works following the impacts of severe weather events.

“The Department, Transport Infrastructure Ireland and Cork County Council are also working closely together to assess the damage, and therefore to plan appropriate remedial action and finally determine the estimated costs of repair. This process is ongoing. I fully appreciate that the restoration of the road network is essential from a safety perspective as well as maintaining key social, community and economic connections. We are all aware of the severity of this storm. We are also conscious that significant action is required to restore our critical road infrastructure to active use.

“I am aware of the current concerns that have been expressed. If the €13 million that has been provided in 2024 is not sufficient, this allocation will, of course, have to be revisited, and the Department will be open to engaging on that. Due to the scale of the damage and the ongoing assessment that is occurring, it is also likely that there will have to be further significant allocations for 2025. It is about managing the budgetary process in the context of 2024, and then also profiling what will be required for 2025.

“As I said, on the work with Transport Infrastructure Ireland and Cork County Council, there is still ongoing assessment occurring about the specific damage, what that will cost and when it can be remedied. We are actively engaged in that. There will be ongoing engagement with the Department of Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform on these matters”.

Deputy Stanton concluded by saying: “I thank the Minister of State for his positive response, and I encourage him to continue, as I know he will, fighting for this extra allocation so we can get the roads back up and running to a high standard”.