Solicitor refuses to rule out legal action by victims of deluge against ESB

A SOLICITOR investigating the flooding of homes in Cork city has refused to rule out a legalaction against the ESB on behalf of those affected.

Joe Noonan, of the law firm Noonan Linehan Carroll Coffey, said he had received a “steady trickle” of calls from people affected by the November flooding since he posted an advertisement in the Irish Examiner on Saturday.

The advertisement stated: ‘We represent householders and businesses who have suffered as a result of the November flood. We are investigating whether it was avoidable and whether proper warning was given’.

Yesterday, Mr Noonan said he had received between 12 and 20 calls. He suggested the ESB was “pushing people’s patience at this stage” over what he said was areluctance to provide “raw data” regarding whether flooding could have been prevented and over warnings given.

“What did they know and when did they know it?” he asked, claiming the ESB – which made a decision regarding the discharge of water from the Inniscarra dam on November 19 – had failed to provide details regarding readings and contingency plans.

He also said more detail was needed regarding the warnings given to householders, adding in some cases elderly people asleep on the ground floor of their homes were awoken to find “water lapping up against the bed”.

“The ESB may well be able to show that they behaved with complete wisdom, foresight and proper management,” he said, “but the public has not been told. We want hard facts.”

Regarding the possibility of legal actions, he said: “Nothing can be ruled out.” Any such actions would include compensation sought for uninsured losses. Yesterday, a spokesman for ESB said the company was co-operating with the Government review which is due to be completed in March. The company said it was unlikely it would be making any comment until then.

Last December, ESB chief executive Pádraig McManus said: “There was no ambiguity whatsoever in the flood warnings we gave.”


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