Homeowners are left to clean up after torrents


BUSINESSES PEOPLE and homeowners across Cork city and county were yesterday engaged in a major clean-up operation after heavy, localised flooding caused millions of euro worth of damage in a number of areas.

Among the worst-hit areas was Douglas on Cork city’s south side where flood waters started building from about 1.30am and, at one point, inundated businesses in the village centre to a depth of more than 4ft.

Local business people and residents attributed the problem to the build-up of debris at a rubbish screen on a newly built culvert on the Douglas river, which flows under the shopping centre to join up with the Tramore river.

According to the Douglas shopping centre developer Clayton Love, the problem stemmed from a debris build-up at the screen resulting in water flowing over the culvert and on to Church Road from where it spilled into the east and west ends of the village.

Mr Love said questions regarding the efficiency of the culvert should be addressed to Cork County Council. But given that the culvert failed to cater for the flows down Donnybrook Hill and flooded parts of the Douglas shopping centre, it clearly didn’t perform as it should have.

“The culvert didn’t work – aside from the debris building up at the trash screen, there’s a layer of mud on top of it. A guy scraped the mud off part of it with a spade at 5am and the water went through it, but it needs to be kept clear and debris-free,” he said.

Fine Gael councillor Deirdre Forde said the culvert, built by the council last year at a cost of €330,000, had not done its job and the council would have to look at changing it. “I’ve never seen anything like this flooding in Douglas. It’s obvious to me that that culvert is not adequate in emergencies such as this,” she said.

County manager Martin Riordan visited premises in Douglas in the morning and said the culvert had been checked at 8am and again at 4pm on Wednesday and was found to be clear to accommodate flows.

However, he said the combination of almost 50mm of rain falling in the space of three hours on Thursday morning, allied to almost three times the average rainfall in June, meant the culvert could not cope with the volumes of water coming down the river.

The culvert – which was designed by the council and approved by the OPW – has the capacity to accommodate flows of 15cu m of water per second, according to a county council spokesman.

In Glanmire, on the northeastern outskirts of the city, homeowners were also counting the cost with 47 houses in the Meadow Brook Estate becoming partially submerged; in some instances up to 3ft deep.

Six people had to be evacuated from their homes by the Civil Defence, while units of Cork County Fire Service spent hours pumping out homes after the Glashaboy river burst its banks and spilled into the adjacent housing estate.

Businesses in Blackpool in the centre of Cork’s north side were also embarking on a major clean-up when the Kiln river overflowed by Blackpool church, and nearby businesses at Watercourse Road and Great William O’Brien Street were flooded.

In Ballyvolane, heavy rain also resulted in flooding in Park Court, Meelick Park and Mervue Lawn while the torrential rain – logged by Met Éireann at Cork Airport as 36mm between midnight and 3am – also caused flooding on the Commons Road and Killeens near Blarney.