Clare County Council will soon be forced to decide which Clare communities will be forced to face into this winter with no storm defences, and which may see some works undertaken.
During a special meeting of Clare County Council this afternoon, August 5, County Manager Tom Coughlan revealed that the local authority had not received a response from the Office of Public Works (OPW) to 36 separate funding made since February of this year.
These requests include an allocation for more than €12 million in storm defence funding and, according to Mr Coughlan, the council cannot spend the majority of the €16 million in repair funding allocated for the January storm until the storm defenses have been updated – saying that this would lead to the €16 million being “swept away” during upcoming storms.
Indeed, during this afternoon’s meeting, Clare County Council received its first correspondence from the OPW since February. The email, which was read into the record of the meeting, gave the go ahead for the council to begin initial preparation works to construct new sea defences at Clonahinchy in West Clare, where sea defences were completely washed away this winter.
It is understood that the council will now be allowed to undertake a €1 million feasibility to determine what flood defence works need to be undertaken in Clonahinchy. However, there is as yet no indication if the remaining €4 million required for Clonahinchy will be forthcoming.
“We could spend the €16 million that we were allocated, and in a year or two that will all be washed away unless the coastal protection issue is sorted out first,” said Mr Coughlan.
The council also confirmed that they have not yet received any response from the government regarding funding in relation to the February storms – which includes a large amount of work in Kilkee.
The council also confirmed that they are now in a position to appoint an engineer to oversee the repair works across the county.
Councillors passed a motion outlining the frustration at the lack of clarity regarding the government funding and the lack of communication, particularly with the OPW.

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