herald

Monday 11 December 2017

Floods crisis sparks early warning plan

CITY officials are now giving specific weather alerts to Dubliners following the debacle over last October's floods.

Dublin City Council is issuing the information to local politicians so that communities at risk of flash floods can be notified in advance.

It comes after the local authority and Met Eireann were criticised for failing to provide sufficient warnings before the torrential downpours of October 24 last.

Fianna Fail councillor Jim O'Callaghan said the change of policy by officials was implemented after a motion tabled by members.

"The purpose was to give us notice in advance of any major weather events.

"At the time of the floods, we called a meeting and Fianna Fail put down a motion calling on the city manager to put in place a system whereby councillors should be notified of major weather alerts."

He said it was an attempt to notify householders living in certain parts of the city which may be at risk at times of high tides or heavy rain.

The first such alert came last week when usually high tides were forecast to peak on January 25 at 12.44pm.



Barrier

As a result, the three tide gates along the Dodder from Londonbridge Road up to Newbridge Avenue were closed.

In addition, the Merrion Gates flood barrier and the two barriers at the Aviva Stadium and Derrynane Gardens were erected.

The council said the actions were merely a precaution and an opportunity for its crews "to gain expertise in the operation of the barriers and the tidal flood defence gates".

Mr O'Callaghan described it as a "targeted" approach following the "shambles" three months ago.

"This is going to continue indefinitely so that councillors and the public will be notified when the council believes there is a major weather alert approaching," he added.

Three floodgates remained open during the October 24 emergency as locking pins could not be retrieved form a kiosk beside the Aviva Stadium in time. Council staff could not access them until well into the night.

Officials have now said that protocols will have to be reviewed to prevent a repeat.

comurphy@herald.ie

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