Family left temporarily homeless after Kerry floods

Family left temporarily homeless after Kerry floods
Kenmare Fire Service Personnel dealing with flooding in the Kerry town Square. Picture: Evan Doak

A family of two parents and five young children had to be rescued from a house in Sneem in the early hours of Thursday morning after bad flooding, which saw the Ring of Kerry closed.

The floods left many regional roads and town squares impassable in South Kerry and came after torrential rainfall overnight.

The N70 Ring of Kerry between Sneem and Caherdaniel was closed, as was a local regional road at the Inny Bridge to Waterville.

The floods left one family temporarily homeless.

Nicola Duggan, general manager of the Sneem Hotel, has appealed for help in housing the family, who were rescued on the Waterville side of the village.

The father, a chef at the hotel, his wife and five children aged between two and ten, are currently homeless after their home was destroyed. Originally from Lithuania they have been living in Sneem for six years. They were rescued from upstairs in their home by the fire service and are currently staying in the hotel.

“There is no emergency accommodation in Sneem or Kenmare. The children have been up all night and these are hard-working people effectively homeless now,” Ms Duggan said.

She has spent the day contacting local council and the TD Michael Healy-Rae.

The damage was evident throughout the county.

Kenmare was one of the worst affected, flooding flooded badly for the third time in 12 years. Two units from Kenmare and Killarney fire stations were in the town square from 5am, along with council workers pumping water from the square and from flooded properties.

Quill's Shop in Kenmare which was badly hit by flooding in the early hours. Staff came in early to try and get the shop ready for business which is not expected to re-open until Friday at the earliest. Picture: Evan Doak
Quill's Shop in Kenmare which was badly hit by flooding in the early hours. Staff came in early to try and get the shop ready for business which is not expected to re-open until Friday at the earliest. Picture: Evan Doak

Kenmare has suffered badly from floods in recent years, with a particularly bad event in 2008 followed by less severe flooding in 2015, with many of the same premises hit by both floods.

An assessment launched in 2016, carried out as part of the national CFRAMS project on flooding by the OPW and partners Mott MacDonald, found Kenmare is at risk from the combination of tidal and river flooding.

After the 2008 and 2015 floods, flood defence works worth more than €5.4m were recommended along the Finnihy River and its tributary, the Kealnagower, but these works have still not been carried out.

The Mayor of Kerry, Fine Gael councillor Patrick Connor-Scarteen criticised the delays.

Locals believed a flat foot bridge erected some decades ago was again a problem, trapping water because material had got stuck, and causing the river to overflow during heavy rainfall.

“Hundreds of years ago Cromwell’s Bridge was built and it never caused a problem, because of the high level of the eye,” Mr Connor-Scarteen said.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Kerry County Council said the OPW has approved an initial allocation of approximately €5m for the project. The brief is currently being progressed in conjunction with the OPW and it is intended to tender for consultants later this year.

“In conjunction with the OPW, Kerry County Council has established a dedicated Project Team to prepare a brief to enable the appointment of consultants and develop the scheme,” according to the council.

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