I recently asked Minister Hayes about funding for coastal protection measures at Portrane, North County Dublin.
To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the position regarding the funding application from Fingal County Council for urgent remedial coastal protection measures to be implemented in Portrane; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– Clare Daly TD
Minister Hayes visited Portrane in late January of this year to see at first hand the coastal erosion issues in Portrane. An application by Fingal County Council for funding under the Office of Public Works Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme was approved in February 2013 for a Coastal Erosion Risk Management Study for Portrane/Rush. The approved funding of €57,800 was fully drawn down and the Report has been completed by consultants RPS.
The Report recommends that a dune management system including dune re-profiling, matting and planting in conjunction with sand fencing is put in place along the eroded part of the central and southern sections of the Portrane dunes where significant erosion has occurred in recent times.
Prior to the storms in late 2013 and early 2014, no follow-up application for funding had been received by the OPW from Fingal County Council in respect of the works recommended in the report.
Following the severe storms that impacted on many coastal areas during the past Winter, the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government requested the relevant local authorities to submit estimates of the cost of repairing public infrastructure that had been damaged, focussing initially on the period from 13th December 2013 to 6th January 2014. Fingal County Council submitted estimates to the Department in respect of proposed works at a number of locations in its area including Portrane. The estimate submitted by Fingal County Council in relation to Portrane was for funding of €200,000 to enable the Council to undertake the works recommended in the RPS Report.
The Government decided on 11 February 2014 to make available up to €69.5 million for a programme of repair and remediation works to roads, coastal protection and flood defence and other public infrastructure damaged in the storms from 13th December 2013 to 6th January 2014 based on estimates provided by the local authorities concerned. Of the total amount being made available, up to €19.6 million is available via the Office of Public Works for the repair of damaged coastal protection and flood defence infrastructure.
The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government wrote to Fingal County Council, indicating, based on the estimate submitted by the Council to that Department, that up to €200,000 is being made available to the Council via the OPW to undertake the necessary repair works to damaged coastal protection and flood defence infrastructure.
Fingal County Council must submit an overall programme of works to the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government detailing how it proposes to spend the total allocation that is being made available to it. It must also submit the relevant elements of the programme to each Department from whom funding will be made available for consideration of technical aspects of the proposed works. When the Council’s programme of coastal protection and flood defence projects is received by the OPW it will be reviewed having regard to related guidance issued by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government to the local authorities.
The OPW has written to the local authorities indicating that in order to assist them in a practical way and to avoid any potential cash-flow issues, it will consider requests for advance funding of up to 80% of the estimated cost of approved projects where a contract for works has been made.