Hundreds evacuated as water takes toll

HUNDREDS of home owners and nursing home residents were unable to return to their houses in Co Kildare yesterday as flooding continued to blight parts of the country.

In addition to the situation in Sallins in Co Kildare, where houses were seriously damaged after the River Liffey burst its banks on Sunday, parts of the Dublin were still affected yesterday despite falling water levels. Johnstown, Clane and Celbridge, all in Co Kildare, were also affected by the flooding, with roads there impassable.

The Strawberry Beds area of the capital, between Chapelizod and Lucan, was the worst affected area of Dublin yesterday as roads there remained impassable.

While some parts of the country struggle to deal with the effects of the flooding, the Government’s Emergency Response Co-ordination Committee revealed that an estimated 1,500 people have so far been rescued from their homes across the country because of the flooding.

The chairman of the ERCC Sean Hogan also said that, at one stage on Sunday, Kildare County Council was receiving 600 calls an hour from panicked families as the flood waters rose. In total the local authority received around 4,000 calls at the weekend.

The flooding was caused by rainfall of between 25mm and 35mm which fell in parts of Leinster, figures which Mr Hogan said were “by no means exceptional” but which exacerbated problems in saturated river catchment areas. Such has been the level of flooding that 200 local and civil defence staff were working in Kildare at the weekend, while across the country the numbers of local authority, civil defence and defence forces staff helping out with the flood effort reached more than 6,000.

The situation in parts of Leinster yesterday was further complicated when water turned to ice due to plummeting temperatures.

Eight minor crashes took place on the M7 as a result of the icy conditions between junction 16 Portlaoise and junction 14 Monasterevin. There were also considerable traffic delays.

In Sallins, which is located on the banks of the Grand Canal, some people were still unable to return to their homes yesterday, while local businesses were also affected.

Residents of 100 homes at The Waterways in Sallins had to be rescued by boat on Sunday as waters rose, and yesterday there was no chance of returning home due to flooding. A nursing home in Clane was also evacuated on Sunday, and yesterday those residents were still unable to return to Hazel Hall.

Director of nursing at the home Pauline Connolly said the water level in the Liffey had not lowered sufficiently, particularly when more water is likely to be released from the Poulaphouca Dam, and that it was not considered safe to bring the 34 residents back to Hazel Hall. The residents are currently staying at another nursing home nearby, Mount Pleasant Lodge. Houses in the Lough Ballard and Butterstream Lawns housing estates had also been flooded.

The ESB said the flood on the Liffey has peaked and was abating slowly, but warned it must now release water from a dam further upstream at Poulaphouca, Co Wicklow, where levels remain high.

“It is necessary to discharge water in a controlled and gradual way throughout today,” said a spokesman.

“This level of discharge should minimise the impact of flooding downstream in areas already affected by tributaries and other flood sources.”

Many areas still remain on flood alert and Kildare and Dublin county councils are monitoring the situation.


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