Angry locals demand Irish Water ‘admit’ responsibility for flood

Angry residents and business owners in an East Cork town have written to Irish Water demanding it "admit responsibility" and offer compensation for flooding that devastated premises twice within 24 hours.

The flooding occurred during torrential overnight rain at Tallow St and North Abbey in Youghal in mid-November. The streets had previously been flood-free for over 40 years.

The area runs perpendicular to Cork Hill, a steep 700m decline where new waste water and drainage pipes were connected as part of an €18m drainage scheme which is nearing completion in Youghal.

Witnesses described water and sewage rising from the shores and from a manhole cover where the descending volume met a pipe running horizontally at the bottom of the hill.

Over 7.5cm of water flooded into commercial and private properties.

In the aftermath, a street delegation met with an engineering firm who were project agents for Irish Water. The delegation came away from the meeting satisfied responsibility would be accepted.

Representatives of You-ghal Chamber of Tourism and Commerce were also satisfied following a pre-scheduled meeting with the agents. Irish Water, in the meantime, has failed to respond to press inquiries and has, reportedly, not engaged directly with a claims assessor on behalf of property owners.

Irish Water said “liability has not been admitted” and suggested residents consider claiming from their own insurers who may choose to counter-claim” if “confident Irish Water is liable”.

Montessori teacher Sharon Welch, who employed professional cleaners for her premises, feels this could jeopardise her premium. Neighbour Liz Murphy also fears insurers might unnecessarily declare the street a flood risk area and maybe withdraw future cover.

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