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

Mon, Feb 3, 2014, 19:37

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.”

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