Thousands of sandbags have been delivered to homes in south east Clare under threat of rising floodwaters after the River Shannon burst its banks between the ESB-operated Parteen Weir and Limerick.
Increased rainfall coupled with increased discharges from the Weir have left residents along the Shannon catchment “concerned” and “bracing” themselves for the worst possible outcome.
Springfield has been struck by three devastating floods in recent times.
Surface water levels on lands surrounding homes in the rural community rose overnight by 1.5 ft.
Local mother of three Bridget Kinsella, whose home was previously swamped by floods, said “nothing” has been done for the area since it was last overwhelmed by flooding, in 2016.
“The last government promised us lighting because it is in the dead of night when the water comes and we are normally dealing with a flood in the darkness. On a health and safety issue alone they should be sending us lights,” Ms Kinsella added.
She complained “thousands” had been spent on “reports” into possible solutions for the area yet, “nothing has actually been done about it here”.
“The water is rising, they (ESB) are releasing more water all of the time,” she said.
She praised Clare Council who have delivered 5,000 sandbags to the area yesterday and today, “but we are still worried the flood will come”.
Her three young sons, Luke 20, along with twins Philip and Jake (aged 19), valiantly kept the waters out of their home in 2016 by building a sandbag fortress and manning water pumps 24 hours a day.
However the battle eventually took its toll on Philip who collapsed from exhaustion and was ferried out of the swamped neighborhood to hospital by ambulance.
“Of course we are worried that it is going to happen again. It is a trauma in itself to have to go through,” she added.
Luke Kinsella, who is currently writing a final year college course dissertation on flood management, warned: “They’re not putting sandbags down for nothing. Everybody is worried.”
This could all be avoided if money was put towards a solution. There’s no point in conducting survey after survey.
The Office of Public Works had indicated its approval in principle to a possible solution consisting of a combination of an embankment construction and the installation of pumping facilities, however this was not realised due to residents claim it was deemed not to have met strict conditions that it be economically, environmentally and technically viable.
“We are concerned and bracing ourselves,” Luke remarked as he surveyed the floodwater rising over fields that surround his house.
Declan Flanagan, Engineer, Clare County Council, who visited the community today, said: “Surface water has risen a foot and a half overnight. We are monitoring it. We are delivering sandbags and pumps to ten homes in the area, as a precaution.
“We delivered 2,500 sandbags yesterday and we are delivering 2,500 bags today. Each house takes between 500-600 sandbags.
An ESB spokesman said that “as of noon today discharges have increased to 245 cumecs (cubic metres per second) at the Parteen Weir”.
“The situation is being kept under constant review.”
Residents also received a text message from the ESB which informed them flooding was not expected to occur “as a direct result” of the discharge rate.
The message however, advised residents, “if there is heavy flow in the downstream tributaries, flooding may occur”.
The ESB spokesman said: “The level of water flow (245 cumecs) is likely to result in flooding of roads and may affect land and property in the vicinity of the Shannon downstream of Parteen Weir.”
Note that other areas between Parteen Weir and Limerick may also be vulnerable to flooding due to local issues.
“ESB is liaising with the relevant local authorities and local residents on our text alert system have been notified.”
Clare County Council has been contacted for a response.