Areas of Glounthaune in Cork may be flooded on purpose to protect homes and businesses

The deliberate flooding of a children’s playground to help protect stricken homes and businesses in an east Cork village is under consideration.

Sandbags were ineffective in Glounthaune during the December storm and county councillors demanded action to alleviate serious flooding.

Family homes, a community centre and the Rising Tide restaurant suffered from a torrent flowing down the hill close to the local church.

A nearby pub, The Great O’Neill, also had water damage. Owner Martin O’Neill said the premises was inundated with around 60cm of water which poured down from a rocky landscape at the rear. He said the pub remained out of business for nearly a week.

“A lot of flooding is down to lack of maintenance and forward planning. There needs to be a combined meeting of the local community association, tidy towns, businesses and householders with the county council to put all our heads together and try and get this resolved,” Mr O’Neill said.

Ms Phil Murphy, who helps run The Rising Tide, said if it had not been for the help of locals and three men, “scooping out water”, the premises could have been badly flooded. She favours an interim plan to flood a playground.

Fianna Fáil councillor Padraig O’Sullivan said the main problem seemed to be the downhill culvert at the church. He witnessed flooding there last October and believes something had to be done, especially if the culverts are being blocked.

Council engineers told a municipal district meeting they were proposing to create a diversion near a set of steps leading to the Rising Tide, by directing water into the nearby children’s playground to protect properties.

“I would only see this as a short-term fix. What is really needed is a proper culvert which takes this flood water under the ground and straight out into the estuary,’’ said Mr O’Sullivan.

Meanwhile, in Copper Valley View in Glanmire, remedial works have already taken place to help prevent a repeat of flooding on December 30 which damaged houses. Around 20 homes were affected by a combination of floodwaters which raced down a hill into a stream, already at overcapacity.

The council has removed debris blocking the water flow at a nearby bridge and also created a temporary tarmac barrier to prevent water from going into houses. The tarmac will be removed when other measures are put in place. Engineers plan to put in fabricated steel barriers.

Labour councillor Cathal Rasmussen said he was concerned at repeated flooding on the ‘back road’ into Cobh at Ticknock and engineers promised to address it. Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy said residents at Marian Terrace, Cobh, had suffered from repeated mudslides which were getting worse with the increase in wet weather.

He also secured backing from colleagues to write to Irish Water about problems at Ringmeen Place, where sewage is coming up the drains and into houses.

“I’ve been onto Irish Water again and again and nobody has come out do do anything about it. The residents have sewage coming out of their toilets every few weeks,’’ Mr McCarthy said.

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