Homeowners and businesses across Cork were yesterday recovering from Storm Frank’s fallout — and bracing themselves for further hardship.
While Fermoy and Mallow are no strangers to deluges, the flood defence systems in both towns limited their exposure to the floods. Bandon and Midleton were not as lucky, however.
Eric Hickey, who was again cleaning out his newsagents on Bandon’s South Main Street yesterday, described the flooding that engulfed his store as “chaos”.
“We were lucky that my son and daughter were here for the holidays and lifted stuff out of the way and thankfully with damage limitation it’s not too bad,” he said.
“All the mess, all the water, has to be got out of here starting off again from ground zero. And as we say, it could happen again tonight and tomorrow night, and with the next shower of rain it could happen again. We’re getting there. We’ve done it before and we’ll do it again. It’s an ongoing process.”
The town’s Business Alliance reiterated its intent to withdraw payment of commercial property rates if flood relief works have not started in Bandon by June 30. In a statement the Bandon Business Alliance said that while it understands that responsibility for the flood relief scheme lies with the Office of Public Works, its rates are paid to the local authority “to allow our members to function normally”.
“The alliance does not accept that Cork County Council take €1.1m per annum in rates from its members whilst at the same time attempting to absolve themselves from responsibility,” the statement read.
In the East Cork town of Midleton, Cork County Council relocated its tenants hit by floods to other available houses in its stock.
However, housing families in private rental accommodation has becoming increasingly difficult, with one local representative describing the situation as reaching crisis point.
Cllr Pat Buckley said while flooding on Midleton’s main street had subsided yesterday, it was still a problem on the Tallow road, particularly in Lauriston Park where residents have been evacuated from their homes.
“People are putting family and friends up in their spare room. The hotels have been great, and we’re trying them and B&Bs, but we’re running out of space,” he said.
The nearby Fota Wildlife Park reopened yesterday, having closed the day before due to the adverse conditions.
“We had to close because the lower end of the park got flooded as a result of Storm Frank, but all the animals are fine and being looked after by our wardens,” said Fota’s head of marketing, Stephen Ryan.
Mr Ryan also thanked the public for their well wishes: “We got lovely messages on Facebook and Twitter yesterday saying that our staff were doing a great job looking after the animals in such horrific conditions. ”
Gardaí yesterday said that the N25 between Castlemartyr and Killeagh was still “severely flooded” and will not re-open to traffic until today at the earliest, with diversions put in place.
In Cork City, the N22 Carrigrohane Rd was closed between Victoria Cross and Carrigrohane due to flooding. The stretch of road is downstream from the ESB’s Inniscarra Dam, and the utility yesterday warned that it may have to increase the discharge level from the dam depending on what weather the next few days brings.
Bernardine Maloney, corporate communications and public affairs manager, said the inflow of water into the dam has been over 750 cubic metres per second.
“They’re releasing 250 cubic metres per second at the moment, and they have been doing that since yesterday morning,” she told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.
“There is more rain forecast over the next number of days, so they may need to increase above 250, depending on the actual rain that comes into that catchment area”.
Cork City Council has warned property owners “to maintain high levels of preparedness for flooding in the Carrigrohane Road and Lee Road areas”. It does not expect the city centre to flood.
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