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Storm Ellen: Business owners and residents count cost of Cork flooding

Images posted to social media showed flooding in Skibbereen where multimillion-euro flood defences had been installed in recent years.

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Motorists make their way through flooded roads near Dunmanway in Cork (Damien Storan/PA)

Motorists make their way through flooded roads near Dunmanway in Cork (Damien Storan/PA)

Motorists make their way through flooded roads near Dunmanway in Cork (Damien Storan/PA)

Business owners and residents in West Cork have been left to clean up mud and water from their properties after severe rain led to flooding overnight.

Images posted to social media showed flooding in Skibbereen where multimillion-euro flood defences had been installed in recent years.

Angry business owners have called for an investigation into how properties were flooded despite expensive flood defences in place.

The fire service and Civil Defence spent hours pumping flood water away from homes and businesses as Storm Ellen swept across Ireland.

Louise O’Donovan, co-owner of Eldon Hotel in Skibbereen, said they are spending the next two days disinfecting the property which was flooded.

“We have fogging machines in to disinfect and sanitise the whole place and we are just cleaning all the muck and water that is everywhere,” she said.

“The water came in through every door, if you tried to block one door it was coming in worse through other doors.

“This has happened before but because the council hasn’t sorted the problem in the first place it happened again.

“We reopened the hotel on June 29 and will have to close today but hope to reopen tomorrow if we can. There is a big team here working.”

Elaine Doolan, who owns Fusion Home Interiors, had its car park flooded.

She said that within half an hour of the storm hitting the town, a river of water was running down the road outside their shop.

“The yard behind us was building up with water at an awful rate. Some water came into the building but it was limited thanks to the fire service and Civil Defence,” she said.

“They had two pumps going for three hours and pumped it into another field by midnight.

“It was crazy. We have flood barriers up because we were flooded a number of years ago which caused about 100,000 euro worth of damage.

“Our staff had to go out into the main street and lift the storm drains last night as they are all blocked. We have to do that because the flood works were never carried out in our part of town.

“It was like a waterfall coming through the wall so we were getting it in every direction. There is a lot of volume of water coming off the land.

“We have been out power washing away all the dirt and grime gathered up in the yard. We are preparing for tonight as there has been another rain fall warning.”

Holly Cairns, Social Democrat TD, tweeted: “21 homes and businesses are damaged on Bridge St and the Cork road.

“The Eldon hotel had three feet of water, fire services were pumping water out of buildings.

“Understandably people are confused as to why this happened when there was an 18 million euro flood relief scheme in Skibbereen.

“There are a few reasons it seems. There was a temporary grate on the stream in the cutting, there should have been a permanent one.

“The culvert on the cork road was meant to have undergone works three years ago, this still hasn’t happened.

“There is a culture of approaching flood management in a piecemeal fashion when we desperately need a more comprehensive approach. To deal properly with flooding we must consider the broader landscape.”

Cork South West TD Christopher O’Sullivan tweeted: “This shouldn’t be happening in Skibbereen. Millions spent on flood protection. The entire town should be dry even in this intense rainfall. Part of me is not surprised. The flood committee flagged that this area needed more protection.”

He added that the Office of Public Works “need to provide answers”.

PA