Cold conditions hampering Athlone flood defence effort

‘Mechanical issues’ with pumps disrupt residents and volunteers battling deluge

Cllr Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran and resident Simon Coghill shoring up the flood defences on the Eastern side of the River Shannon. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Cllr Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran and resident Simon Coghill shoring up the flood defences on the Eastern side of the River Shannon. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

 

Cold weather conditions are hampering flood defence efforts in Athlone as water levels continue to rise on the River Shannon.

In the past 24 hours the river rose by 7cm and Westmeath County Council predicts a further rise for the next four days. Three houses have flooded in recent days in Athlone.

Using data provided by the ESB, the council said it expects the water levels to peak at 5cm above current levels on Wednesday.

Director of services at Westmeath County Council Barry Kehoe said “we are lucky most of the rain fell in the south.” The cold weather is now making conditions difficult for those battling the floodwater, he said.

Speaking this morning, Independent Alliance Councillor Kevin “Boxer” Moran said around 80 new volunteers turned up at a meeting in Athlone on Friday night. Some have come from as far as Sligo, Cllr Moran said.

Mechanical issues with pumps caused difficulties for residents battling the deluge on Friday night, according to Cllr Moran. He said: “We are holding our own but if you have mechanical failures like we have it’s hard to hold out.”

The council said the current flooding in Athlone is having a severe effect on a small portion of the town but the effects are localised and there is no impact on the town at large. Irish Water has said there is no issue with the water supply in the town.

The council said their priority remains assisting people who are protecting their properties from floodwaters.