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Hundreds of households fight to hold off flood waters

Published 03/01/2016

Dozens of families in Ireland were evacuated over the weekend
Dozens of families in Ireland were evacuated over the weekend

More than 200 homes across Ireland are still battling to keep water from their doors as hundreds more count the cost of the floods clean up, it has been revealed.

The State's national emergency taskforce said 260 households who lost the fight against the elements have been swamped in the aftermath of Storm Frank.

Dozens of families in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, and Athlone, Co Westmeath, were evacuated over the weekend.

A further 130 houses have been "marooned" by flooded roads and fields, according to Keith Leonard, chairman of the National Emergency Co-Ordination Group.

Another 230 homes have been designated as "under threat" and face imminent flood damage as weather forecasters predict more rain over the coming week.

Virtually every county in Ireland has been hit at this stage by flooding, impacting on roads, businesses, homes and farmland.

Met Eireann chief forecaster Ger Fleming said there would be some easing off on the deluge over the coming days, but warned of the potential for significant rainfall by midweek.

Water levels in rivers and lakes have exceeded record 2009 levels in some parts of the country.

Because of this, even "normal" weather could break flood defences, it is feared.

Authorities are monitoring closely the Shannon, the Erne, the Barrow, the Suir, the Blackwater in Cork and the Bandon.

The Defence Forces deployed 110 soldiers around Cork, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Limerick and Galway to help with sandbags and water pumping.

President Michael D Higgins is to visit flood-stricken families in Galway and Wexford tomorrow.

Commuters have been warned about the possibility of transport disruption as much of the country returns to work this week.

Motorists have been urged to exercise caution on flooded roads and look out for fallen trees, while public transport users have been advised to check if their usual services are affected.

The Electricity Supply Board (ESB) said it was maintaining the water flow through the Shannon's Parteen Weir at 470 cubic metres per second but that it will be review the flow tomorrow.

"The levels in Lough Derg may reach 2009 levels in the coming days and, as a result, the flow through Parteen Weir may increase to those levels," a spokesman said.

"This level of water flow will have increased associated flooding to land and property in the vicinity of the Shannon downstream of Parteen Weir including the areas of Springfield, Montpelier, Castleconnell, Mountshannon (Annacotty) and the University of Limerick."

The ESB said other areas between the Parteen Weir and Limerick may also be vulnerable to flooding due to local issues.

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