Belfast Telegraph

Garda 'swept away' by floodwaters

An off-duty garda is feared swept away by floodwaters as he tried to rescue people.

The officer was helping members of the public at Ballysmuttan bridge in Co Wicklow when the accident happened.

Gardai and emergency services were alerted at about 7pm on Monday. The incident happened along the upper stretches of the River Liffey after huge swathes of the east of the country were hit by a month's rain in the last 24 hours.

The young officer missing in the floods was in his 20s and stationed at Stepaside in south Co Dublin and lived near the spot where he went missing.

A Garda spokesman said emergency teams expected to stand the search down and resume at first light.

It is understood the garda had got out of his car at the bridge and was assisting members of the public attempting to cross. No-one else was injured in the incident.

The Liffey at Ballysmuttan is normally shallow and wide and just seven miles from its source in the Wicklow Mountains.

It is believed the floods in the area were so powerful there were fears a bridge at Ballysmuttan was in danger of collapsing.

Met Eireann said its rainfall records for October have been "well and truly smashed" after the day long deluge. About nine centimetres of rain fell at Casement Aerodrome to the west of Dublin - well above the average monthly total for October. Rainfall for the month of October is normally about 69mm. Met Eireann said the rainfall total so far this month rose to 157mm - four times more than for the whole of October last year.

Gardai and Dublin City Council launched its emergency response plan for the capital to clear roads, bail out homes and businesses and to try and clear drains. The fear is that high tides will cause further mayhem along coastal areas overnight as the rain eases.

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