Around the country


Flooding news from around the country


THE LARGEST flood in over 50 years in Cork caused millions of euro worth of damage all along the western approach to the city centre.

Water from the river Lee washed down both the north and south channels of the river in the early hours of yesterday.

It flooded a central segment stretching from the western edge of the city near Wellington Bridge in to the city centre at Grand Parade.

The flooding followed the release by the ESB of a large volume of water from Inniscarra Dam 13km (eight miles) from the city after water levels upstream of the dam rose to dangerous levels.

Met Éireann said 51.2mm of rain fell in Cork on Thursday, almost as much as the 54.7mm which fell in the first 10 days of November, resulting in a huge build-up of water levels in Lee valley catchment areas.

The north channel of the Lee burst through the quay wall at Grenville Place, flooding the ground floor of the Mercy University Hospital.

Patients and staff had to be evacuated to higher floors in the hospital, with the new emergency department forced to close and staff having to be ferried into work in dinghies by soldiers from Collins Barracks, who also began sandbagging the quay wall to prevent breaches.

The city council took the precaution of evacuating some 43 people from three buildings at Grenville Place near the Mercy hospital, amid concerns for the structural integrity of the road.

According to Cork City Council senior engineer of drainage Eamonn Walsh, the flooding was entirely due to the volume of water coming down the River Lee and was not caused by high tides, which usually result in flooding in the eastern end of the city centre.

The heavy flooding forced the closure of Cork County Hall, where up to a metre and a half of water entered the basement, damaging all the electrical and computer equipment, while about 20 guests had to be evacuated from the nearby Kingsley Hotel.

The basement of the new Western Gateway at University College Cork was also flooded, as was the basement of the award-winning Glucksman Gallery.

Students from Castlewhite apartments had to be evacuated, and lectures at the university have been cancelled for the coming week.

Barry Roche


BUSINESS OWNERS in Bandon were yesterday counting the cost of the devastating floods in the west Cork town.

Orla O’Donovan, who owns Seats cafe in Bandon, said she evacuated the building at 4pm on Thursday.

When she returned yesterday morning, the first thing she noticed was that her garden furniture had floated 300m (1,000ft) down the quays. Her cafe was “completely trashed” by the flooding.

Elsewhere in Co Cork, the Mallow to Killarney road was restored to two lanes yesterday morning after flooding overnight.

Clonakilty was passable yesterday morning but there was still flooding in roads around Macroom, Coachford and Crookstown.

Olivia Kelleher


PEARSE KELLER’s experience was one of many causing heartbreak across the west yesterday, as he cast his eye over his family business in Ballinasloe, Co Galway.

“Our shop is under almost four feet of water, and we are promised another two foot when it starts raining again tonight,” he said.

The travel and retail furniture businesses run by his father before him had marked a half century this year, and Keller had recently ordered in new stock. An estimated €150,000-€200,000 worth of goods has now been damaged, along with his premises, after the river flowed into his 20,000sq ft showroom.

Hundreds of people were evacuated from homes and businesses in Ballinasloe, which is believed to have last seen a flood in 1924.

To compound the town’s bleak situation, the ESB was forced to disconnect electricity supplies from homes and businesses in certain areas yesterday for safety reasons, while a precautionary “boil water notice” has also been in place in the town.

Schools closed across the east of the county, as the Garda and Galway County Council appealed to people to make essential journeys only.

In south Galway, a family of five including an 85-year-old grandmother were recovering after they were airlifted from their farm home at Russaun, near Kilbeacanty, outside Gort.

In Ballylee, a motorist was one of many yesterday who had a narrow escape. His van became stuck in rising water and he was able to extricate himself just before it became completely submerged.

Lorna Siggins


DRESSED IN a black raincoat and Wellington boots, Minister of State responsible for flood relief Martin Mansergh visited Clonmel yesterday to survey the waterlogged Tipperary town.

The mayor, Denis Dunne, told him that “40-50 houses were flooded”, and that many buildings on the banks of the River Suir were inaccessible. Although the basement and car park of the Town Hall were flooded, officials co-ordinating the emergency response team continued working on the upper floors.

Over 5,000 sandbags have been delivered to households by council workers and soldiers. On Parnell Street, a bystander, Jimmy O’Meara, said “Thank God for the Army – we’d be lost without them.”

On the edge of the town, Clonmel’s famous greyhound track was completely submerged and resembled a tropical lagoon.

Michael Parsons


IN KILKENNY city, the Nore flood relief scheme constructed by the Office of Public Works earlier this decade prevented flooding. But in the south of the county, there were road closures and flooding – especially in Thomastown and in the village of Inistioge, where up to three feet of water damaged some homes and businesses.

At Dunkitt, a 94-year-old woman was rescued from her flooded house by a fire crew.

In Carlow town, a number of streets were flooded and the Civil Defence provided a boat to ferry people to and from waterlogged homes and businesses.

Further south, the river Barrow had burst its banks and caused some flooding in Leighlinbridge, and in Graiguenamanagh, Co Kilkenny.

Michael Parsons


AN ALMOST deserted Ennis town centre had an eerie feel yesterday afternoon as the only sounds were sirens and mechanical pumps operating to prevent further damage caused by the river Fergus bursting its banks.

Flood waters had cut off approach roads to the town centre to traffic and the only vehicles able to access the town were Army trucks, Garda cars and emergency vehicles.

Gordon Deegan


UP TO 120 guests at one of Killarney’s oldest hotels, the Lake Hotel on the shores of Lough Lein, were evacuated yesterday and the hotel was closed down after water rose several feet, marooning the building.

The South West Regional Tidy Towns awards ceremony, due to be held at the hotel yesterday evening, was cancelled.

The main N71 Ring of Kerry road between Muckross and Kenmare/Sneem remained closed as lake waters continued to rise and rain from mountain valleys descended on the road.

Anne Lucey


FLOOD WATERS continued to rise in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, yesterday, with many approach roads to the town impassable throughout the day.

Leitrim village was closed to through traffic. Gardaí said that a number of shops on Park Lane, Carrick, were flooded.

The weir at Jamestown near Carrick-on-Shannon was no longer able to hold back water on the river Shannon. In Co Roscommon, 30 local roads were closed, including roads in the Cootehall, Knockvicar and Keadue areas. In Co Sligo, the Ballymote to Templehouse road was impassable last evening.

Marese McDonagh


FLOODING CAUSED traffic problems in Waterford, where the quay was especially bad. But this did not deter deputy mayor Cllr David Daniels from turning on the Christmas lights yesterday.

The Waterford-Tramore road was still impassable, with diversions also causing traffic difficulties. Dungarvan reported flood water subsiding. In Enniscorthy, where a major burst of the river banks had been feared on Thursday night, there were only minor breaks in the banks.

Ella Shanahan


FURTHER SEVERE flooding in Fermanagh and parts of Tyrone is expected this weekend as more heavy rain sweeps in from the Atlantic.

Lower Lough Erne is rising above its highest level in 50 years following 32 consecutive days of rain. Estimates put the rainfall of the last month alone at more than the annual winter total.

The main Enniskillen to Dublin road was closed yesterday, and many rural communities have been hampered by localised flooding. Other floods were reported in parts of Enniskillen, Derrygonnelly, Derrylin, Lisnaskea, Church Hill and Wattle Bridge.

Sandbags were used in parts of Enniskillen to try to hold back the water from homes, shops and businesses.

Dan Keenan