Cork family forced to move out of home due to sinkhole

Sinkhole caused by burst water main swallows up part of family’s car

Part of the sinkhole in McGrath Park, Mahon, Cork. Photograph: Cork City Fire Brigade

Part of the sinkhole in McGrath Park, Mahon, Cork. Photograph: Cork City Fire Brigade


A family from Cork have been forced to move out of their home because a sinkhole may have damaged the structural integrity of their house.

The sinkhole appeared in McGrath Park in Blackrock early on Sunday morning, with Cork City Fire Brigade and Irish Water inspectors subsequently attending the scene.

The sinkhole appeared in the family’s front driveway, and part of the family’s car was swallowed up.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Gary O’Donovan, the father of the family, said he also noticed new cracks on the interior and exterior walls of his home, and other cracks have gotten wider.

The family have been forced to move out while the damage is assessed by experts.

Margaret Attridge, Irish Water’s regional asset operations manager, said that a burst water main was the cause of the sinkhole.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One on Monday, she said “a lot of damage” was done to the house.

“It appears, as a result of the burst and the volume of water released, to have undermined part of the driveway and a house in the area,” she said.

“Unfortunately, the structural damage to the house has meant that we’ve had to move the family to some alternative accommodation until we can make sure that the area is safe.

“We have a technical team on site this morning who are inspecting the damage. We are awaiting the report.”

Sudden release

Ms Attridge confirmed that on Sunday morning, Irish Water’s meters showed that there was a sudden release of water. “The driveway would have been a concrete slab, so that volume of water would have washed away the foundation to that slab and found a route, possibly underneath the house, and caused damage to the house.”

She also agreed that a sinkhole appeared.

“A sinkhole is where water has washed away all the fine soil and material that would be below the concrete slab and below the house foundations, so it has created a cavern, creating that subsidence of the concrete driveway and the cracking of the property.”

Ms Attridge added that Irish Water was also surveying all neighbouring properties, but there is no evidence of further damage at the moment.

“There is a lot of damage done to the house. Our priority at the moment is making the area safe, and looking after the homeowners. We apologise for this, which is a lot more than an inconvenience to the homeowners. Home is home,” she said.

“Unfortunately, that family has now had to move out of their home. We met with them on site this morning. Our priority is to look after that family.

“Hopefully they will be able to return to their house in the short term, but our priority at the moment is to make sure it is safe and make sure the family are looked after in the best way possible in this terrible situation.”