President expresses 'deepest concern and sympathy' for flood victims
President Michael D Higgins has praised rescue efforts following devastating flooding in County Laois.
The army has been brought in to assist the fire and emergency services in evacuating residents from their homes in Mountmellick, after the banks of three rivers burst during a six hour downpour.
Water levels rose by two metres over the course of the day.
Thirty soldiers have been dispatched as part of the clean-up and rescue efforts.
Many homes in the area are flooded and a number of roads remain impassable.
In a statement, President Higgins said: "As President of Ireland I would like to express my deepest concern and sympathy for all those who have been affected by the recent flooding, and in particular the people of Mountmellick.
"This will be a devastating experience for them, and I want to thank all those in the state, local authority and voluntary sectors who are coming to their assistance."
He added: "On days like today the thoughts of all of us should be with the families affected."
In a statement, a spokesperson for Laois County Council said clean-up efforts would continue throughout Thursday, with sandbags being issued to prevent further flooding.
They added that families whose homes had been flooded had been provided with emergency accommodation and advised motorists to drive with caution in the area.