Parts of rail, road network still closed

LARGE parts of the rail and road network will remain closed this morning while the country counts the cost of the torrential flooding which has devastated thousands of homes and businesses.

Large swathes of the country remained under water yesterday and some areas are still on high alert amid fears that waters could again rise in areas that include parts of counties Cork, Galway and Limerick.

Iarnród Éireann confirmed yesterday that sections of track are still affected by some of the worst flooding the country has ever seen.

Bus transfers will continue to operate between Limerick and Ennis, Galway and Athlone, Carrick-on-Shannon and Longford, and Athlone and Gorey.

Iarnród Éireann spokesman Barry Kenny said once the flood waters recede work will begin on checking that the track infrastructure in affected areas is still intact.

Flooding on roads around the country has also severely curtailed travel, with the AA yesterday listing a number of areas where roads were impassable.

Roads in Carlow, Waterford, Longford, Clonmel, Cavan and Roscommon remained closed yesterday, while in Co Galway areas around Ballinasloe and Craughwell remained particularly affected. Drivers on the Galway to Dublin road were asked to temporarily use the unfinished M6 to bypass Ballinasloe and Craughwell.

In Cork city the Carrigrohane Straight Road and the Lee Road remained closed, while a section of the Lee Mount Cross from the Anglers Rest could remain closed until tomorrow.

People living in low lying areas along the River Shannon remained on high alert last night as defence forces personnel moved in to sandbag dozens of homes in villages outside Limerick.

An Inter Agency Group, comprising the Mid-West Local Authorities (Clare County Council, Limerick City Council, Limerick County Council and North Tipperary County Council) and Emergency Services, has warned of potential flooding along the lower River Shannon over the coming days.

Property and landowners from south of Killaloe/Ballina to Limerick City, particularly in flood prone areas, are being advised to exercise increased caution as a result.

Emergency services were continuing to monitor the situation last night, in conjunction with the ESB at Ardnacrusha, which has been releasing water down the Shannon since Saturday morning to prevent severe flooding upriver.

Army personnel were called in to sandbag up to 30 homes in the village of Clonlara late on Saturday night where two homes were evacuated due to flooding.

While emergency services and the ESB at Ardnacrusha continue to monitor the situation, levels in the villages of Castleconnell and Montpelier remained perilously high yesterday, with more flooding expected.

Hundreds of households in Clarina in west Limerick were without power for a time on Saturday night after an electricity pole caught on fire. Limerick City Council announced yesterday that the pedestrian Plassey Bridge, also known as the Black Bridge, near the University of Limerick, would be closed over safety concerns.

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