Monday 20 October 2014

Councils deny liability as couple sue over 'mini tsunami' that devastated their home

Tim Healy

Published 22/01/2014 | 02:30

Noel and Rosemary Rice at the High Court

A COUPLE who claim that their home was flooded after it had been struck by "a mini tsunami" have sued two local authorities.

Noel and Rosemary Rice's home was flooded after, they said, millions of gallons of water struck their property on December 3, 2005.

They claim that tens of thousands of euro in damage was caused to their home at Mill Road, Dundalk, Co Louth.

They allege that the flooding was caused after local authority workers released water that had accumulated due to a blockage at the Ault Bridge, Castleblayney Road, Dundalk, which is located upstream from the Rices' home.

The release of water caused the river to break its banks and flood their property. The blockage was caused by debris, including rubbish, that had ended up in the river.

'ACT OF GOD'

In their High Court action against Louth County Council and Dundalk Town Council, the couple say the defendants were negligent and responsible for the damage.

They claim this was for a number of reasons, including that they allowed the water to escape and failed to carry out a risk assessment. It is also claimed they allowed the water to escape in a location they ought to have known was dangerous, unsafe and carried with it a risk of flood.

The claims are denied. Both local authorities say the damage was caused by an act of God and that no liability in law attaches to them.

Mr Rice told the court that it took between nine and 10 months for the damage to his home to be repaired.

He said the downstairs and interior of his home, which he and his wife had taken great pride in, were damaged.

The case continues before Ms Justice Marie Baker.

Irish Independent

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