Warning of further flooding as storm clean-up continues

Status yellow warning remains in place in many parts

Traders in Cork city centre are counting the cost this morning after a combination of high tides and strong southeasterly winds sent flood waters washing down several streets last night. Video: Provision

 

Forecasters are warning of more flooding ahead of the weekend as residents of the south and south east count the cost of two Atlantic storms in three days.

Met Éireann has said Friday will turn very wet and windy with some more flooding possible as another deep area of low pressure approaches Ireland.

Speaking in the Dáil today, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the current estimate of providing flood defences for Cork is between €50 million and €100 million.

“There is an engineering challenge in Cork city, in the defence of Cork city and its inhabitants and businesses,’’ he added. “It is very complex…it is not an easy issue to resolve,’’ Mr Kenny said.

As the clean up continues further heavy showers this afternoon and evening some may be thundery and cause spot flooding. Thursday will be mainly dry before a return to unsettled conditions on Friday afternoon.

Residents and businesses in the south were assessing the damage this morning after severe overnight flooding which caused the centre of Cork to be closed off last night.

The Government yesterday committed to providing a further €15 million in emergency relief for severe weather damage as the country battened down for a fresh onslaught.

ESB crews were working to restore supply to some 10,000 electricity customers who were left without power this morning. Most of those affected are in the south. Repair crews worked into the night after the network experienced significant damage.

High tide in Cork just before 9pm last night sent flood waters rushing down a number of streets in the city centre. However, flood protection measures put in place earlier in the day helped reduce the extent of the damage.

Gardaí closed off access to Cork city centre as both the North and South Channels of the River Lee began to burst their banks as high tides and strongly south easterly winds prevented water exiting into the harbour.

A few people tried swimming in Oliver Plunkett Street, which was under 60cm (2ft) of water.

While flooding has largely receded in the city, the Lower Glanmire road in Tivoli remains closed. Parts of Youghal including the Main Street and the Claycastle and Summerfield Cross areas are also closed. Timoleague village is flooded as is Main Street in Midleton

The AA reported road closures in parts of Thurles, Co Tipperary, and in New Ross, Co Wexford. In Dublin, part of a roof was blown off a building on Grand Canal Quay. Local flooding was also reported in parts of the midlands, Clonmel, and in parts of Wexford town.

Some rail travellers are likely to face further disruption in the south today as Cork to Cobh/Midleton services are suspended due to flooding on line.

It is expected that bus transfers will operate between Rosslare and Enniscorthy this morning due to flooding.

A yellow weather warning remains in place, with strong to gale force easterly winds expected over Leinster, Ulster and Connacht. Strong to gale force westerly winds are also forecast this afternoon over Munster. Gusts of up to 100km/h are expected over Munster later this morning and in the early afternoon.

A rainfall warning has been issued for Dublin, Carlow, Kildare, Kilkenny, Wexford, Wicklow, Cork, Kerry, Tipperary and Waterford.

Up to 45mm is expected as heavy rain sweeps spread from the southwest later today, followed by more showery conditions overnight and tomorrow.

The €15 million emergency allocation announced yesterday has been sanctioned on top of an existing €10 million relief fund for those in immediate distress, and the Government said more capital would follow once the extent of the damage had been calculated.

The emergency fund will be administered by the Department of the Environment and is in addition to the humanitarian assistance scheme already operated by the Department of Social Protection for assistance in the aftermath of floods.

Means-tested scheme

Just over €2.2 million has been drawn down since the fund was established in 2010, assisting those who cannot afford to repair their homes. However, the means-tested scheme has been criticised for the length of time it takes to process claims.

There is also a separate urgent-needs payment available through community welfare offices to cover costs such as food and clothing.

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan said the Government is engaged nationally and with “local authorities and emergency response units in order to provide every assistance they need, including financial, to carry out their invaluable work”.

A Cabinet meeting tomorrow will hear reports from councils around the country.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the €15 million is for those in immediate distress due to loss of their homes or personal possessions. A longer-term response is being drawn up, he said.

IFA president Eddie Downey said up to 1,000 hectares were affected in Co Mayo alone and it would take months to bring the land back to its former state. Pat O’Donoghue, of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association, said thousands of farmers from Co Mayo to Co Cork were affected by seawater flooding that will destroy grass.

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