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Friday 19 September 2014

Investigation launched into how emergency department almost flooded for second time in a year

Greg Harkin and Sarah Stack

Published 06/08/2014 | 08:40

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Letterkenny Fire Service tried to relieve the flood water at Letterkenny General Hospital last night as it flooded again following heavy rain. Photo Brian Mc Daid
Letterkenny Fire Service tried to relieve the flood water at Letterkenny General Hospital last night as it flooded again following heavy rain. Photo Brian Mc Daid
Staff and emergency crews atLetterkenny General Hospital as thy try to revert the water from the new emergency Department which was flood one year ago. Photo Brian McDaid
Staff and emergency crews at Letterkenny General Hospital as thy try to revert the water from the new emergency Department which was flood one year ago. Photo Brian McDaid
Staff and emergency crews atLetterkenny General Hospital as thy try to revert the water from the new emergency Department which was flood one year ago. Photo Brian McDaid
Staff and emergency crews at Letterkenny General Hospital as thy try to revert the water from the new emergency Department which was flood one year ago. Photo Brian McDaid

An investigation has been launched in to how an emergency department flooded for the second time in a year.

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The unit at Letterkenny General Hospital was closed for three hours last night after torrential rain swept across the north east.

Forecasters warned there will be more heavy showers over the west and north west during today, but nothing like last night.

“The rest of the country should be dry,” said Met Eireann’s Deirdre Lowe.

“Tomorrow will be a similar sort of day with some showers and scattered showers mostly in the west and north.

“On Thursday night there will be more widespread heavy showers and on Friday the east of the country will have heavy downpours again.”

A massive thunder storm hit north Donegal last night, closing roads and causing widespread chaos.

More than 40mm of rain fell in a 15-minute period, followed by several more heavy downpours.

The flash floods caused damage to homes across north Donegal last night with roads closed in Ramelton, Illistrin, Rathmullan, Stranorlar and Lifford.

In Letterkenny, water was sent cascading from overflowing drains on the main N56 road outside the hospital.

Last year €40m worth of damage was caused at the unit when flood waters poured from a drain in the grounds of the hospital.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) said engineers involved in the new build, which only reopened earlier this year, will be on site during the day as a probe gets underway.

“We are getting an investigation in to what happened last night up and running as quickly as possible so we can see what actually happened and review the flood strategy management strategy in place,” said Tony Cavanan, chief operating officer at west northwest hospital group.

Mr Cavanan said “unusual” measures in place to tackle rising waters include staff stacking sandbags and always having a digger on site 24 hours a day keep a tributary clear which runs through the hospital groundsr.

A full investigation and report into the cause of last year's flooding is still being compiled by the HSE.

Meanwhile Donegal County councillor Gerry McMonagle, who lives close to the hospital, has demanded an independent inquiry into the design plan of the new wing of the hospital which is built in a hollow.

Irish Independent

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