Weather watch

Communities in vulnerable areas of Wexford and Waterford coastline remain on high alert

Residents behind sandbags at Poleberry, Waterford city. Photograph: Patrick Browne

Residents behind sandbags at Poleberry, Waterford city. Photograph: Patrick Browne


Residents and businesspeople along the southeast coast are hoping they are over the worst of the flooding which hit many areas badly on Monday.

The effect of the high tides on Tuesday night and yesterday morning was not as severe but communities in vulnerable areas of the Wexford and Waterford coastline remain on high alert.

The work of the people of Poleberry in Waterford city and those who came to their assistance has been hailed as saving the area from a second successive day of flooding.

After the nearby John’s river flooded up to 150 houses on Bath Street and Manor Street on Monday morning, council staff handed out large sandbags on Tuesday. These were used to form a barrier across the street to prevent the water going near local homes again.

Mayor of Waterford John Cummins, in the area on Tuesday helping to distribute sandbags, said the idea to create a five-foot “wall” across the road came from him at an emergency meeting.

Pumps were also used to remove water from local gardens. The mayor paid tribute to the fast action of council staff in implementing the idea, along with personnel from Niall Barry & Co Ltd Civil Engineers who are working on the wider flood relief programme for the city.

In New Ross, badly flooded on Monday, the south end of the quay, close to the Dunbrody replica famine ship, was hit by flooding again on Tuesday night, but locals were hoping they were over the worst of the storm damage by yesterday.

Wexford town was also on high alert over the last couple of days as the seawater rose up the sea wall; there was a warning at one point from the RNLI that it was within 50cm of the top of the wall.

However, it didn’t breach the defences in that area.

Residents washed out of their homes in the floods that struck Limerick last Saturday morning have criticised the Government for not doing enough to help them through their ordeal.

St Mary’s Park residents – who had to jump from their beds into boats when the flood waters swamped their homes – spent their third day battling wind and rain to gut their properties and dump the contents on to the street.

Kevin O’Leary (61) broke down as he recalled meeting Ministers Michael Noonan and Brian Hayes as they surveyed the damage to his home last Sunday.

“He [Mr Noonan] didn’t open his mouth. He just looked around. He didn’t say nothing. It will take years before you will get anything really done here . . . to get the smell and everything out of here.”

He praised the local community for “rallying together” and Star Rovers soccer club where free dinners were been handed out to residents.

Mother-of-one Rose Manning, a resident of Oliver Plunkett Street, situated in the estate, also rounded on the Government.

“No one came down with information, we only got leaflets about [water] contamination yesterday. My message to the council: give me another house or something. My message to the Government is help. That’s all, help. We have nothing.”

Eugene Griffin, senior executive officer of corporation services, Limerick City Council, said locals could access the emergency humanitarian compensation fund at St Mary’s Community Centre, where community welfare officers “are handling any requests for financial assistance from residents”.

He added that the tides were decreasing but that further rain was forecast up until at least the weekend.

“We remain on alert up to and including the weekend as further heavy rain is forecast. The water level is currently at 6.3m, which is 2.6m below the level that struck on Saturday, when the level was 8.9m.”

Dublin City Council has kept large sandbags in place at the seafront in Clontarf in anticipation of this weekend’s high tides. It said it would also provide pumps to deal with potential flooding in the area. It said the wooden bridge at Clontarf might be closed.

Car parks by the promenades at Sandymount and Clontarf will be closed and pedestrian access blocked. The council said Strand Road and Beach Road in Sandymount might be closed due to wave overtopping.

The boardwalk along the city quays was closed before high tide yesterday afternoon.

Flood gates are being put at the river Tolka and flood defence gates on the Dodder will remain until the high tides have passed.

South Dublin County Council said surface water was cleared on sections of the N81, N7, N4, Lock Road in Lucan and in residential areas in Tallaght. It also dealt with reports of 12 fallen trees. Minor surface flooding occurred around the Leopardstown Inn and Meadowvale.

For guidance on flood protection measures, see For help in an emergency, call 01-4574907.

Residents and business owners close to the banks of the Shannon were anxiously watching the river level last night as flood fears moved away from coastal areas and into towns and villages along the country’s major rivers.

The Government’s emergency response taskforce confirmed yesterday that the major risk was now of river flooding.

The very wet and windy weather since Christmas had resulted in increased moisture levels in soil, while drains were also becoming congested. Rivers everywhere had swollen to very high levels and there was a real threat of them bursting their banks.

The Shannon was a particular source of concern, but all river catchment areas were being closely watched.

Yesterday, Athlone Town Council said it was continuing to monitor levels on the Shannon. On Monday the council implemented its emergency flood response ahead of heavy rain forecast for the rest of the week, which is likely to result in flooding. The council said it had hundreds of sandbags ready for distribution to anyone who believed their home or business was threatened.

Town clerk Pat Keating said the monitoring of the river levels would continue and a further update would be given today.