Heavy rain pours further misery on communities
LESS than two weeks ago Tullow in Co Carlow was the coldest place in Ireland, recording night-time temperatures of minus 17C.
But during the weekend residents were forced to travel by kayak after heavy rainfall left parts of the town under water.
Entire swathes of the country are today counting the cost as Wicklow, Wexford, Carlow, Kildare, Kilkenny, Waterford, Tipperary and Monaghan were hit by floods.
The quays were closed in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, and in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, while residents were evacuated from their homes in Bray, Co Wicklow.
Businesses were also badly affected after the main bridge through Arklow town was closed after the River Avoca burst its banks.
A number of residents were forced to leave their homes, but yesterday Wicklow County Council engineers passed the Nineteen Arches bridge as safe after a structural examination and re-opened it to traffic.
Local councillor Pat Fitzgerald (FF) said it was the worst flooding to hit Arklow since Hurricane Charley in 1986.
"Whole sections of rural roads were swept away by the floods and the council will be carrying out a detailed assessment of the damage. . . The cost of repairing the damage will run to millions of euro," he claimed.
Bus services were suspended through the town, while Iarnrod Eireann was forced to operate bus transfers between Wicklow and Arklow on the Dublin to Gorey/Rosslare line due to flooding. Rail services resumed at 4.30pm yesterday.
Elsewhere in Wicklow, the main street in Baltinglass was closed after being flooded.
In Carlow, roads were washed away outside Borris, while Tullowbeg in Tullow was closed because of flooding, with one man pictured travelling through the town by kayak.
AA Roadwatch advised motorists to drive with extreme care because black ice continues to cause problems in Wicklow, Cavan and Monaghan.
It also said there was extensive damage to roads in Wicklow, Carlow, Cork, Kilkenny, Wexford, Meath, Tipperary, Offaly and Sligo.
Met Eireann said today would see patchy rain and drizzle over Ulster and parts of north Connacht and north Leinster, which would die out this morning to give a mostly dry day with some sunny spells.
Early frost in the south and south-east will clear quickly, with highest temperatures of 6C to 10C with light southerly breezes. Tonight will be dry, with ground frost in places and patchy ice or fog possible. Rain will reach the south-west by dawn tomorrow.
Meanwhile, North Tipperary TD Maire Hoctor (FF) has called on Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith to help farmers hit by the big freeze, which rotted thousands of acres of unharvested potatoes.
"The estimated damage is being put at €15m," she said.