Tuesday 17 October 2017

Local fury as homes and firms hit for the fifth time

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

FURIOUS residents and traders have demanded an inquiry after a blocked drainage culvert triggered flash floods in one area for the second time in 12 months.

Parts of Blackpool, Co Cork, were left under 1.2 metres of water after a key culvert became blocked by debris washed down the River Bride following torrential rainfall.

A total of 15 homes and businesses were hit by the flash-flood, with Blackpool Pharmacy being the worst affected.

A provisional estimate for the damage was put at €100,000.

It is the fifth time in 11 years that Blackpool has been hit by floods, with many homes and business premises now unable to secure flood insurance.

Cork city manager Tim Lucey insisted that the four-metre culvert had been repeatedly inspected and that council staff did everything possible to tackle the problem on Thursday night.

"We will be reviewing what happened," he said. "But at this stage it appears that debris was washed down and blocked the screen by the culvert, resulting in an overflow of water."

Emergency

Mr Lucey attended the scene that evening and admitted he had concerns about a second flood in less than a year.

"Our own engineers are now preparing a report on what happened. All issues will be dealt with."

The debris washed into the culvert by the torrential rainfall included pallets and a large tractor tyre.

While the flooding wasn't as severe as in June 2012, locals were furious that a blocked culvert was again apparently responsible for flood issues.

Blackpool off-licence worker Caroline Kelleher said the water flooded into the business in less than five minutes.

"It all happened so fast. A man from the Coffee Pot told us there was going to be flooding and in less than five minutes the water was gushing in," Ms Kellegher said.

Coffee Pot owner Bill Dunlea said they wanted an emergency meeting with City Hall authorities about the flood crisis.

"We're all sick of this. It is like we just don't matter," he said.

Blackpool launderette operator Tim O'Brien said much worse damage was narrowly averted because the local supermarket was open late and the owner was able to telephone traders to warn them.

"It is devastating but we are probably lucky in that Ger Buckley was working in the Centra (shop) and he was able to contact a number of the traders in the area to get down here and get our barriers up," he said.

Irish Independent

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