Man believed to have drowned in Co Monaghan

Elderly man swept away in flood waters, while many rivers remain in ‘perilous state’

A submerged tractor on flooded farm land near the village of Feakle, Co Clare after Storm Desmond. Photograph: Arthur Ellis

A submerged tractor on flooded farm land near the village of Feakle, Co Clare after Storm Desmond. Photograph: Arthur Ellis

 

A man in his 70s is believed to have drowned in Co Monaghan when he left his car on entering flood waters and was then swept away.

The man had been reported missing to Monaghan Garda station. His body was found at Corraghdown, Glaslough at 11.25am on Monday morning, some distance away from his car.

Some rivers across the country remain in a “perilous” state following Storm Desmond, and the flood risk may persist for more than a week according to the National Emergency Co-ordination Council.

Local authorities have warned more flooding is probable in the first half of this week, with councils in Westmeath, Limerick and Clare all informing residents of potential risks to property.

Houses in the low-lying areas of Athlone such as Deerpark and Carrickobrien/Clonbonny may be susceptible to rising water levels on the river Shannon, according to Westmeath County Council, while a “significant release of water” from Parteen Weir by the ESB could affect properties in southeast Clare and Co Limerick as well as the University of Limerick grounds.

The ESB has also warned there may be flooding of roads and lands upstream of Cork city over the coming days as it increases discharges from its dams at Inniscarra and Carrigadrohid on the River Lee.

Members of the National Emergency Coordination Council met on Monday afternoon to discuss severe weather events over the weekend. Chairman Seán Hogan said the rivers Shannon and Moy are “particularly on edge” with further flooding expected along the upper Shannon later this week.

Towns such as Ballybofey in Donegal, Crossmolina in Mayo, Ballinasloe in Galway and Bandon in Cork were worst affected as an unprecedented 100mm of rain fell over a 24-hour period across parts of the west on Friday and Saturday.

Some ESB substations, water and wastewater treatment plants were also affected, and boil water notices have been issued in some areas as a precautionary measure.

“We have seen the images of nature in action over the weekend, and despite the warnings and the efforts of all involved, properties were affected by flood waters in Cork, Kerry, Clare, Mayo, Sligo, Donegal and indeed in other areas,” Mr Hogan said.

“This is terrible in the run up to Christmas. For some, this is a repeat of previous experiences of flooding, so they know what the pain is and it’s worse for that.

“Some rivers remain at critical level and the Shannon is still rising. There may well be further episodes of flooding, and experience tells us that waters will not recede for days and indeed for weeks in some parts of the country,” he said.

The country was already saturated following higher than average amounts of rainfall during November, and further inclement weather up until Wednesday may exacerbate the situation and make relief efforts more difficult.

Bandon clean-up

Traders and residents in Bandon are continuing the clean-up effort after about 30 businesses were flooded on Saturday, with many unhappy about delays in implementing a €10 million flood relief scheme for the area.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio this afternoon, Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works Simon Harris said “shovels will be in the ground” for the scheme by the middle of 2016.

Elsewhere, 48 elderly residents had to be evacuated from a nursing home in Foxford during a rescue operation which lasted until 3.30am on Monday morning. A similar scene unfolded in Ballytivnan, Co Sligo, where 13 nursing home residents were evacuated amid rising flood waters.

The Civil Defence was called on to help move residents from parts of Athleague where the River Suck burst its banks.

The Irish Farmers’ Association said thousands of acres of farmland have been “devastated” following the weekend’s deluge, and has called on Government ministers to visit the worst-affected areas.