\"Superstorm

06/01/2014. Met Eireann has warned of further stormy weather, with flooding reported in counties Cork and Galway. It has upgraded its weather alert from its lowest level of yellow to orange, as severe gusts of up to 120km/h sweep across Ireland. Pictured rough see at south wall in Dublin. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland Photo by: Photocall

After superstorm, Ireland seeks aid from $700 million EU fund

\"Superstorm

06/01/2014. Met Eireann has warned of further stormy weather, with flooding reported in counties Cork and Galway. It has upgraded its weather alert from its lowest level of yellow to orange, as severe gusts of up to 120km/h sweep across Ireland. Pictured rough see at south wall in Dublin. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland Photo by: Photocall

PHOTOS - The spectacular and devastating damage caused by the Atlantic storms

Damage caused by a series of devastating winter storms has led the Irish Minister of State Brian Hayes to admit the amount of money allocated to protect Ireland from them is wholly insufficient.

The havoc caused by Superstorm Christine was so extensive that substantially more than the annual $60 million budget needs to be allocated to cope with devastation, the minister said.

Minister Hayes confirmed on Monday that Ireland will shortly seek funding from the $700 million European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF), in the hope the country will secure more than the $17 million (2.6pc) allocation it was granted five years ago.

Minister Hayes declined to comment on recent claims in the media that the fortnight of freak storms has inflicted more than $400 million worth of damage nationwide, with concern growing that some local governments could have their entire annual repair budgets erased by the cost of repairing coastal damage.

Met Eireann, the Irish National Meteorological Service, reported this week that Ireland has been subject to a sequence of major Atlantic storms since December 18, 2013, resulting in extreme wind conditions, with episodes of unusually heavy rainfall and storm surges associated with high tides and low pressure atmospheric conditions.

"It is too early to estimate the full scale of the damage," Minister Hayes said. "If there is any positive from it, it is that it happened early in the year and we have very substantial transport budgets to spend in repairing damage. But we have no option but to ramp up flood relief spending."

In a statement, the National Coordination Group On Severe Weather wrote now that the response phase to the storms have ended, the relevant local authorities are in the process of compiling reports on the recent events.

resulting in extreme wind conditions, with episodes of unusually heavy rainfall and storm surges associated with high tides and low pressure atmospheric conditions.

'It is too early to estimate the full scale of the damage,' Minister Hayes said. 'If there is any positive from it, it is that it happened early in the year and we have very substantial transport budgets to spend in repairing damage. But we have no option but to ramp up flood relief spending.'

In a statement the National Coordination Group On Severe Weather wrote now that the response phase to the storms have ended, the relevant local authorities are in the process of compiling reports on the recent events.

A preliminary report will be prepared and brought to government this week. The group said that funding of repairs to transport and coastal facilities which were damaged will be considered by the relevant government departments arising from the reports from the local authorities.

Meanwhile the Society of St Vincent de Paul, a social justice group, has urged the Irish government to negotiate a fund with Irish insurers for the hundreds of traders and homeowners unable to secure flood insurance. Society vice-president Brendan Dempsey said it was 'an absolute tragedy' that some families are being left to face massive flood damage bills. The Irish Department of Social Protection (DSP) has reportedly assisted a small number of households affected by storms and flooding. Assistance was made available under the exceptional needs and humanitarian assistance schemes. Any person experiencing ongoing hardship is advised to contact their local DSP office, the department said.

Superstorm Christine was the most destructive storm experienced in Ireland in two decades. The three day storm destroyed coastal defenses, flooded roads and extensively damaged homes and commercial properties. Over 5,000 homes were left without electricity after winds reached over 75 mph in places.

In a freak development, the 100 year old wreck of 'The Sunbeam' was uncovered by the high tides a century after it had run aground. The ship, a British wooden schooner, had originally run aground at Rossbeigh in County Kerry during a 1903 voyage to Cork. In the aftermath of the superstorm the ship has become an unlikely celebrity.

PHOTOS - The spectacular and devastating damage caused by the Atlantic storms

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