Around the country: Residents still seek flood assistance

Homeowners frustrated as Minister Simon Coveney visits Springfield, Co Clare

Fire crews attempt to pump flood water from the Dungourney Road, adjacent to the Lauriston estate, in Midleton, Co Cork. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Fire crews attempt to pump flood water from the Dungourney Road, adjacent to the Lauriston estate, in Midleton, Co Cork. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

 

Shannon

Homeowners who have borne the brunt of the floodwaters in Springfield, Co Clare, have asked the Government “not to forget” them.

Residents confronted Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney, who was the first Government representative to visit the community since it began to flood last month.

Standing with the Minister in the river that surrounds her home, Lisa Griffin asked the Cork TD to save the community, which is situated on the Lower River Shannon downstream from Athlone.

When the ESB-operated Parteen Weir reaches capacity, the company releases excess volumes of water, which in turn results in Springfield and the wider Clonlara area becoming flooded.

“If you are going to protect Athlone you are going to wash us away,” Ms Griffin said.

“We don’t want you to forget Springfield.”

Mr Coveney said the Government “has an onus” to help residents. However, Mr Coveney said it was “far too early” to consider relocating residents.

“We need to look at more effective ways at managing the river flow to prevent flooding in the future,” he said.

The ESB has advised homeowners in Limerick and Clare that it was maintaining the flow of discharge along the Lower River Shannon at 470 cubic metres per second – as floodwaters remained dangerously high in worst hit parts.

The ESB said it would review the situation again today. Areas hardest hit by the discharge of excess water from the Weir include Montpelier, Castleconnell, Mountshannon and the University of Limerick.

The ESB said other areas between Parteen Weir and Limerick may also be vulnerable to flooding due to local issues.

Limerick City and County Council deployed additional pumps to Castleconnell and Montpelier where pumping operations have been ongoing for the past month.

Clare County Council said water levels at Springfield, Clonlara, dropped slightly on Saturday night and were “two inches below the peak flood level of 2009”. Eight properties in Springfield were isolated by floodwaters and were evacuated, it said. Army units were assisting in flood relief efforts.

Tipperary county council said yesterday the high flooding risk in parts of the south of the county had “abated” although the situation will be closely monitored in the coming days.

Several families were forced to leave their homes on Saturday night when part of Kilganey outside Clonmel was evacuated. The road through Kilganey was almost impassable yesterday, as are many other roads in the region, with the main N24 Limerick-Waterford road coming under renewed pressure at Mooncoin, Carrick-on-Suir and Kilsheelan.

The River Suir remains at near-unprecedented levels and, but for the €40 million flood defence system, much of Clonmel’s town centre would probably now be under water.

Many outlying areas such as Ardfinnan, Kilsheelan Cloneen and parts of Cahir have also been hit by flooding.

Carrick-on-Suir’s North Quay remains flooded.

In other parts of Tipperary, roads around Nenagh, Lorrha, Borrisokane and other areas were closed.

Many areas of Co Kilkenny remain on high alert, including Graiguenamanagh where pumps have been used to clear water from flooded roads. Rising water from the river Duiske, along with high levels on the nearby Barrow, led to flooding in the town while in Thomastown and Inistioge businesses have also been hit.

The situation was said to be under control in those parts of Kilkenny close to the Carlow and Wexford borders. Other areas where water levels are high include Freshford, Mooncoin, Piltown and Kilkenny city which is also protected by a flood relief scheme.

Waterford City and County Council are monitoring a number of areas including Portlaw and coastal zones including Tramore, Woodstown and Dungarvan.

Cork

Minister of State for the OPW Simon Harris has said the Bandon Flood Relief Scheme is on track. However, Bandon-based Fianna Fáil councillor Margaret Murphy-O’Mahony, likened the delay in the scheme to “a Carry On film”.

More than 60 businesses in Bandon have signed a petition threatening to withhold payment of local authority rates from June 1st if flood protection works have not begun by then. “We are making our presence felt,” said Gillian Powell from the Bandon Floods Committee “We don’t want words anymore. We want people doing something.”

Meanwhile, many areas around Co Cork remain underwater, with several homes in Midleton and Mallow still uninhabitable due to floods.

Irish Water says a precautionary boil water notice for 10,000 homes in Cork will remain in place for the coming days. The alert was issued due to the quality of water coming into the plant at Midleton.

The boil notice is in place for the Whitegate Regional Water Supply in the east of the county.

Leinster

Leinster’s roads are among the most adversely affected by the recent weather events .

Superintendent John Ferris of the Garda Press Office said heavy traffic was expected on all routes and those travelling “should be very careful” and recognise that many roads have suffered damage.

He advised those travelling to check local authority websites and establish which roads were open in their area.

As a result of flooding some roads between Athy and Carlow have been closed. Motorists were advised to travel via the motorway. A stop/go system is in place on St Joseph’s Terrace in Athy is due to flooding.

Wicklow County Council said a number of roads are still impassable due to flooding. Motorists were advised to heed warning and diversion signs and exercise extreme caution. Water levels continue to be monitored in all the county’s rivers, particularly in the Avoca, Dargle and Slaney rivers.

The River Shannon in Athlone was 3cm above the maximum level reached in 2009 and was putting increasing pressure on defences in the town and the rural areas. Army personnel have been deployed since Saturday to assist in the maintenance of flood defences and pumping operations.

Galway

President Michael D Higgins is due to visit communities affected by flooding in south Galway this morning.

Mr Higgins, who will also travel to Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, will meet residents and farmers living in Labane and surrounding areas extending from Ardrahan to Kinvara.

Flooding has reached 2009 levels, thousands of acres are underwater, and more than a dozen families have been forced to leave homes, as surges of water from underground swallow holes, streams and turloughs have engulfed the karst limestone landscape between the Slieve Aughty mountains and the Burren.

Up to 40 homes and farms have been marooned since the first of the heavy rains accompanying six winter storms fell from early December.

Some families are staying with friends and relatives, while a number are being accommodated in hotels in Gort by Galway County Council.

A channel dug as an emergency measure between Cahermore and Kinvara from Friday is providing some relief and has saved up to 10 houses in the Cahermore area, according to Fine Gael councillor Joe Byrne.

Kerry

The main N72 Killarney to Killorglin road was one of the worst affected with severe flooding near Beaufort and Ballymalis. Spot flooding was also heavy on the N22 Killarney to Tralee road. Road surfaces in many areas including on the N72 at Fossa and in the higher environs of Killarney National Park in the Muckross and Mangerton Mountain areas are badly damaged.