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Clean up under way after Storm Desmond causes chaos

Published 06/12/2015

People make their way though floods in the Castlefin area of Donegal
People make their way though floods in the Castlefin area of Donegal

A big clean up was under way in parts of the country after Storm Desmond dumped huge volumes of water and caused devastating flooding.

Met Eireann's highest level red warning ended at 3am as the gale force winds and incessant and heavy rainfall abated more than a day after the Atlantic system began to move in.

Among the worst hit areas was Bandon in Co Cork where the river measured 3.5m, well above the severe warning mark on a gauge at a bridge in the town.

The town centre, which has been waiting for new defences since the last flood in 2009, was under at least one foot of water.

Towns, cities and counties along the west coast bore the brunt of Desmond - the fourth named storm of the winter season - with flooding also reported in parts of Donegal, Crossmolina, Co Mayo, Kenmare, Co Kerry, among other areas.

Travel services were also hit at the height of the storm with a number of flights and ferry sailings cancelled or postponed but services are expected to run as normal today.

Elsewhere, several hundred homes in parts of Mayo and Kerry spent last night with no power.

In some of the hardest hit regions in Cork and Kerry councils called in the Army to help put in makeshift flood defences.

A 20 strong platoon and two big wheeled vehicles were deployed to Bandon while others were dispatched to Kenmare, Tralee and Bantry and worked with local Health Service Executive medical teams to get to emergencies in the floods..

While a separate weather system is expected to move in overnight into Monday, Met Eireann has forecast a a bright and mostly dry day, with sunny spells and just a few isolated showers today.

Forecasters had warned that Desmond was carrying huge levels of rainfall.

Almost 20 travel warnings were in place across parts of Mayo and Galway with many roads impassable including the N59 between Leenane and Westport.

In Donegal, which also had a number of alerts out for motorists, the bridge after the rivers Finn and Foyle meet in Lifford was closed due to high water levels, while a few miles away in Clady, Co Tyrone the town bridge over the Finn was also closed to traffic.

Irish Rail was forced to close its Dublin-Sligo line from Longford to Dromod because of flooding.

In Monaghan, drivers were urged to take extreme care on the N2 while motorway bosses closed one lane of the M6 eastbound at Loughrea for several hours on Sunday morning.

Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland an elderly man had to be rescued from his home in Clady on Saturday night with an emergency team using a digger to get to the property after the Finn burst its banks over a huge area.

The village and nearby Castlefin were among the worst affected in the border region.

And in Larne, Co Antrim, Dunluce Street was closed after part of the roof of a building was damaged.

In Co Clare, officials said flood waters were beginning to recede in many parts but that a flood risk remains, particularly in River Fergus catchment area.

Lands around Kilnaboy, Corofin and Dysert had been submerged - while traffic restrictions were in place in a number of areas and t he N85 north of Inagh was closed for several hours.

On the Shannon, a warning was issued from the European Flood Awareness System - predicting a high probability of flooding on the system from tomorrow, with it forecast to peak on Thursday.

Farmers in the west, north-west and midlands were among those in the worst-hit areas.

Tom Turley, Connacht regional chairman with the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA), called for government ministers to devise an action plan to deal with the floods.

"Already, IFA is reporting devastation to thousands of acres of farmland, households cut off, and animals having to be moved to higher ground," he said.

The IFA said that Lough Allen had swollen to levels not seen since the 2009 winter floods, while many counties were experiencing flooding where it had not occurred before.

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