Thursday 27 November 2014

Garda warning: Use common sense and don't place loved ones in danger

Published 07/02/2014 | 12:47

A father leaps to the rescue at Bulloch Harbour in South County Dublin after a sudden wave knocked over the young child. Photo: Aidan Tarbett
All wrapped up against the elements at O'Connell St
Pedestrians coping with the rain and winds at O'Connell St.
Making do with a broken umbrella to stay dry, at O'Connell St

Gardai have warned parents to to ‘‘use common sense and not to place their loved ones in danger" this weekend as the Atlantic storm hits.

The latest storm is set to wreak havoc across the country with Met Eireann imposing a status orange gale alert and yellow alert for risk of flooding.

Almost 450 homes were without power at 9.45pm today.

The Coast Guard has also warned parents to be vigilant at the coast or at water ways inland.

"It is important for parents to be especially vigilant over the next few days and use common sense when taking children out near the coast or inland water ways,” the Coast Guard's Chief of Operations Eugene Clonan said.

Between this evening and Sunday, the country can expect up to 5cm of rain.

Gardai have warned people to exercise great care on exposed piers, cliff walks and waterways prone to flooding.

Garda spokesperson Superintendent David Taylor said: "People need to recognise the destructive and dangerous power of nature and exercise extreme caution when close to areas such as cliff walks, harbours, rivers and lakes."

The rain will clear to showers later tonight but southerly winds will remain strong and blustery.

Temperatures will remain at a chilly 3 to 5 degrees.

Torrential rainfall is forecast over the next 48 hours, raising fears that more homes and businesses will be flooded.

Motorists in Cork have reported poor visibility on the roads according to AA Roadwatch.

‘‘Drivers need to be vigilant; slow down, watch out for fallen debris and be prepared to encounter localised flooding,’’ the traffic and travel provider warned.

An Atlantic depression will move eastwards across Ireland from 6pm this evening.

It is set to continue into Saturday morning bringing strong southerly winds and heavy rain.

Heavy showers will increase the risk of localised flooding and southerly winds will reach gusts of up to 110 km/hr.

Fota Wildlife Park in Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork will be closed tomorrow due to the expected bad weather for the safety of the animals and public.

A local radio station is running an ad campaign urging people to support local businesses after the recent flooding.

In Tipperary, flooding has taken place as Convent Rd, Dry Bridge and Old Bridge in Clonmel remain closed. Local diversions are currently in place.

The Borrisokane/Athlone Rd is closed until at least next Friday due to flooding at Anglers Rest. Diversions in the area are signposted.

A succession of storms are brewing in the Atlantic - ready to sweep across Ireland between Tuesday and Friday next week.

But the first major problem will start from tonight as heavy rain falls on already swollen rivers and their catchment areas.

The slow moving big rivers; the Shannon,  Barrow, Nore and Slaney are already at very high levels, the  National  Coordination Group on Severe Weather  disclosed today.

And they issued a major warning about the dangers of children playing, and some people even swimming in flood waters adulterated  with bacteria, much of it from sewage.

"Flood waters by their nature carry bacteria," a spokesman said.

"If you swim or children play in flood waters they do so at a risk," he added.

And a Garda Inspector appealed to parents to exercise caution  and stay away from piers and seafronts during stormy weather.

"This is putting children at risk," he said.

"Nature's beautiful but nature  can be a beast," said Inspector John Breslin.

"What appears to be recreational and great fun can end in tragedy," he added.

Asked if he was referring to photographs published earlier this week of children nearly being swept away by waves at  Bulloch Harbour in Dalkey  he said: "I don't want to talk about any particular incident but we have all seen them online."

"It is absolutely outrageous that children are being but at risk in this way."

Met Eireann reiterated that the current unsettled  weather is likely to continue for the next number of days, and that there will be  heavy rainfall particularly in the  South, South West and South East tonight and into the week-end.

And stormy weather will return  countrywide from Tuesday until next week-end.

The Department of Social Protection revealed that 150 families have already availed of financial help from the State.

Jerome Reilly and Aisling Phelan

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