Clean up begins following severe flooding

Taoiseach says Government to consider applying for EU flood relief funding

Residents of Limerick appeal to the Government for help in dealing with the aftermath of the weekend's flooding. Video : Sean Curtin


Clean up operations are underway following widespread flooding along the west, south and south east coasts.

The threat of further flooding has receded for the time being as strong winds die down and the weather becomes drier across the country but Met Eireann has warned of a return to poor conditions later this week.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and Minister of State Brian Hayes today visited Limerick to witness the damage caused by severe flooding in the city over the weekend.

Mr Hayes said a “new defence scheme” would be implemented to upgrade the country’s capacity to handle such incidents. Mr Noonan said the Government would not leave residents of affected areas in the lurch.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the Government would consider applying to the European Union for flood relief funding.

Winds have eased off considerably across the country over the course of the day and mainly dry consditions are expected tonight.

“The threat of flooding from all sources has more or less passed for the time being,” said David Rogers of Met Éireann.

He said flooding should not be a problem for the next 24 hours but strong onshore winds and increasing sea swells are expected to return to south Munster before spreading to the rest of the country by late afternoon tomorrow.

A high tide advisory notice issued to all local authorities by the Office of Public Works will remain in place until Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for the OPW said this afternoon that “local authorities are monitoring closely the updated forecasts of sea levels and warnings during this period and will be issuing any alerts they deem necessary”.

In many cases repair and remedial work carried out by local authorities following bad weather earlier in January has been damaged.

Clare County Council said some flood defence works carried out in recent weeks have been significantly undone as a result of the weekend weather, including in places such as The Flaggy Shore, Seafield, and Kilbaha.

The council now expects to revise upward the original €23.7 million estimate of repairing damaged infrastructure.

Speaking in St Mary’s Park, Limerick - where unprecedented floods have swamped 200 acres, Mr Hayes said the Government would ensure communities would be “protected”.

“This is a terrible situation that people are in. We have got to make sure the people of this area never ever have to go through this appalling situation,” Mr Hayes said.

“As an immediate solution we will be putting in place temporary measures over the course of the next few days to make sure some protection is given to the community just in case the high tides come again.”

Speaking in Galway, where he undertook a tour of the Spanish Arch area, which was hit by a high tide early on Saturday morning, Mr Kenny said that the difficulty was that the scale of flooding had to be “exceptionally extensive” to qualify for EU relief.

Mr Kenny said Mr Hayes would be reporting on the scale of the damage at Cabinet next Tuesday, and this information, together with the work the emergency planning committee, would give “an accurate read-out of what needs to be done”.

“ You know a house flooded is never the same again and house pride is something that is very important in Ireland. So next week we’ll have a report presented to Cabinet by Minister Hayes and we will see what comes out of that.”

Met Éireann has said January was wetter than average this year with some weather stations recording record levels of rainfall. Rivers across the country have become swollen with the heavy rainfall. The Shannon burst its banks in several areas over the weekend.

In Dublin, meanwhile, a landslide at inbound junction four Clonee on the M50 is reportedly blocking the hard shoulder.



Businesses in Cork city centre are counting the cost this morning after a combination of high tides and strong winds led to flooding in the city centre after both channels of the River Lee burst their banks. A high tide at 8am led to both the north and south channels overflowing the quay walls with Cornmarket Street and Kyrl’s Quay being flooded by the north channel while Union Quay, Wandesford Quay and Morrisson’s Island all flooding from the south channel.

The high tides also led to Sharman Crawford Street and South Terrace being flooded on the southside but the most dramatic scenes were in the city centre itself where the South Mall and Oliver Plunkett street and linking side streets all flooded.

According to Gardai at Anglesea Street Station, Oliver Plunkett Street was flooded to a depth of between two and three feet and although many businesses had prepared for the event with sand bags, some were still flooded.

Sides streets off Oliver Plunkett Street such as Princes Street and Cook Street were also flooded while flood waters also extended up to Cork’s main shopping street, Patrick Street which had to be closed to traffic.

Several units of Cork City Fire Brigade were this morning assisting shop owners in the Oliver Plunkett Street area pump water from their premises with most areas clear by 11am after tide waters subsided.

Youghal and Midleton in eastern Cork were badly hit by Monday night’s stormy weather. Properties on Main Street in Youghal were flooded over night and Bailick Road in Midleton was damaged by floodwater.

The Bandon river inWest Cork is reported to be rising and there has been generalised local flooding in the area. Castletownbere has reported a number of power outages due to fallen trees.


Clare County Council said some flood defence works done in recent weeks have been significantly undone as a result of the weekend weather, including in places such as The Flaggy Shore, Seafield, and Kilbaha.

The council now expects to revise upward the original €23.7 million cost of repairing damaged infrastructure.

Senior Engineer Tom Tiernan said the risk of tidal flooding along the Atlantic coast and Shannon Estuary has “abated to some degree during the past 36 hours”, but he urged land, home and business owners in flood prone locations to remain vigilant.


Some 2,000 people living in 200-300 homes were affected with the worst hit areas covering some 200 acres in St Mary’s Park and Kings Island.

A total of 60 people were evacuated from their homes on Saturday and assistance provided to several hundred others by the army, the Civil Defence, The Order of Malta, The Irish Red Cross and Limerick Marine Search and Rescue.

The adverse weather conditions have also impacted on travel and bus transfers remain in place for intending rail travellers between Limerick and Ennis due to flooding on line.

Speaking this morning, Limerick County Council’s director of transport and travel Paul Crowe said it was too early to estimate the cost of the damage other than to say it was “very extensive”.

Mr Crowe said the council was watching to see if the next high tide brings further damage or flooding. He said local authorities will be looking from assistance from Government.

“I think the scale of what we’ve experienced here is beyond the resources of the city and county and we’ll certainly be looking for national assistance,” he told RTÉ.

Gale force winds along with heavy rain and higher than normal coastal tides have put Atlantic coasts under threat of further flooding in recent days.

Limerick County Council has confirmed that the 8.40am tide passed without incident.


Flooding has been reported this morning in Cork city centre where South Terrace and Oliver Street are impassible. Patrick Street is also flooded.

and on the N25 Cork/Waterford Road between Cork City and Midleton. The Carrigaline/Crosshaven Road is completely impassible to all vehicles and there is flooding on the N72 Mallow/Killarney Road by the cork Racecourse.

There is flooding on roads around Kinsale and on the road between Ringaskiddy and Monkstown, and trains are suspended on the Cork to Cobh/Middleton line. There are bus transfers available for passengers travelling to Middleton but there are no transfers in place for Cobh.


Practically no defences are left now in key areas of Kerry, it has been claimed, Over half the county’s 684km of coastline is soft or vulnerable . Rossbeigh beach has suffered further erosion, along with the deposition of mounds of rocks and stones on the main roadway.The sea underneath a high cliff overlooking the beach was undermining the base and the access road, and some 20 houses are at risk of being isolated a local councillor said.

Local area councillor Michael Cahill said it was his strong view that in the wider area some 200 homes were now vulnerable.


Inishbofin and the Aran islands have suffered severe storm damage over the weekend. “A lot of the repairs and cleaning up work we did after the last storm have been damaged, and in some cases it’s worse this time,” said Liam Gavin, Director in Roads and Transportation for Galway County Council.

The Aran islands have suffered damage on the lower road near Kilmurvey and Mainistir, and high tides have caused flooding around Kinvara and on the coast road (R336) towards Spiddal. South Galway has also experienced flooding and roads are closed in Cahermore.


The New Ross Bridge and the quays are impassable due to flooding. Passage East Car Ferry sailings between Passage East and Ballyhack have now been resumed. There are bus transfers operating between Enniscorthy and Rosslare due to flooding on train lines.


Chief Fire Officer with the Waterford Fire Service Niall Curtin said a “significant number” of houses had been affected by the flooding in the city and about eight people had to be relocated from their homes.

The fire service has been working with Waterford City Council and Mr Curtin said a coordinating meeting would take place later on to assess the situation and plan ahead.

Have you been affected by the flooding today? Please email updates and images from your area to Irish Times news.

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