herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Flooded families vent anger at minister as more rain on way

Minister Simon Coveney wades through the flood waters in Springfield, Clara Photo: Gareth Williams / Press 22
Minister Simon Coveney wades through the flood waters in Springfield, Clara Photo: Gareth Williams / Press 22

Communities across the country are on alert against even more flooding, as water levels remain precariously high.

Evacuations are set to continue in many areas, as rivers continue to exceed levels last seen in the severe floods of 2009.

There was some flooding along the Liffey yesterday following the release of excess water from the Poulaphouca reservoir on Saturday.

Speaking at a National Emergency Co-ordination Meeting, Tom Browne of the ESB said the release of excess discharge meant "the middle Liffey flowing through Kildare is bank full at the moment, with some small levels of overland flooding".

"That will probably continue for the next few days," he added.

However, Mr Browne stressed that the ESB was in contact with local authorities in Kildare and Dublin, as well as councils in the Shannon region.

It comes as Met Eireann forecast a cold and showery week ahead, with some relief from the relentless rainfall of the past month.

Respite

"It looks like we're heading into a showery, more cool period of weather when we get some brief respite from these heavy falls of rain that we have experienced over the past month," forecaster Gerald Fleming said.

However, Mr Fleming warned that Wednesday could have the potential to bring another significant fall of rain.

"Unfortunately at the moment, because the water levels are so high everywhere, even what you might call a normal weather front giving 10-15mm of rain has the potential to cause some further difficulties," he said.

After Wednesday, Mr Fleming said the cold and showery conditions will return with night temperatures falling to one or two degrees celcius.

He added that temperatures are set to fall back to normal values for this time of year, with more night frosts expected soon. Dublin is set to escape heavy rainfall, with cool and bright days forecast early this week. The Minister for Agriculture has said the relocation of flooded families is not a priority for government.

Speaking during a visit in Clonlara, South East Clare, where families have been evacuated following the winter storms, Minister Simon Coveney said it was "far too early" to begin such a measure.

"I don't think that we are looking at that option at the moment," he said.

He met angry homeowners as he donned a wetsuit in Springfield, Clonlara, where up to six feet of floodwater has marooned many.

"We need to look at more effective ways at managing (the River Shannon) flow to prevent flooding in the future," he said.

Exhausted Geraldine Quinlivan told Mr Coveney that Springfield residents needed action now, not in a year's time.

"It's very very bad at the house today. My brother and his wife and their son could also lose their home today.

Distraught

"The water rose nine inches yesterday and my son is down there all night along with the army and civil defence. I'm actually distraught. I'm awake all night listening to the rain, wondering and hoping that my home is safe," she said.

Another resident, Geraldine Mason, whose home has been flooded since early December, let the minister know the depth of her anger.

"I am homeless, I have no home at the moment... I had to pump the water six-feet deep in my home - and here we go again and it's not fair and nobody cares. It's been going on for years. I want to stay in my home and I don't want to leave it," she told Mr Coveney.

In Athlone, the River Shannon rose by 5cm over the weekend, exceeding records set in 2009. The River Brosna, a tributary of the Shannon, also rose by 39cm. Brendan McGrath of the City and County Management Association said six families needed to be evacuated from the western side of Athlone.

"As the Shannon rises somewhat more over the coming days, particularly rural homes on the South side become endangered," Mr McGrath said.

Meanwhile, 137 troops have been deployed in the past 24 hours to assist authorities in coping with floods.

A spokesman for the army said it remained committed to helping the worst-hit areas recover, adding that units across the country are ready to move in one hour's notice.

In Clonmel, 31 troops helped local residents from their homes amid rising tides. That task was completed at 7am yesterday.

The same unit then brought evacuated residents to Kilmacomma, Co Waterford, to get food and medical supplies.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News