Sunday 4 December 2016

It really is like a tsunami here...people are absolutely distraught' - homeowners and businesses continue to fight rising flood waters

Sarah Slater

Published 30/12/2015 | 14:16

Wayne Holden cleans up the damage on in a premises Lower Main Street in Graiguenamanagh Co. Kilkenny
Picture Dylan Vaughan.
Wayne Holden cleans up the damage on in a premises Lower Main Street in Graiguenamanagh Co. Kilkenny Picture Dylan Vaughan.
Flooding from around the country today
30/12/15 - Flooding Crookstown N22 Macroom: Tom Creedon Park under water after severe rainfall on Tuesday night after Storm Frank unleashed his power over the country. Picture: John Delea.
Enniscorthy in Wexford this morning
Enniscorthy in Wexford this morning
Enniscorthy in Wexford this morning
Enniscorty Templeshannon Quay
Enniscorthy this morning
Enniscorthy in Wexford this morning
Flooding in Graiguenamanagh, Co. Kilkenny
Storm Frannk batters the country overnight
Graiguenamanagh Co Kilkenny this morning
Storm Frank floods in Meadowbrook, Glanmire, co. Cork where the Glashaboy River broke its banks.
Graiguenamanagh Co Kilkenny this morning
Picture: Galway City Council
Storm Frank forces the Glencar Waterfall stream back up. Photo: Twitter/@tracyotoole1
This NASA satellite mosaic image shows a huge winter storm, Frank over Ireland. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
High waves hit the Poolbeg South Wall in Dublin. Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie
The flooded church in Kiltartan, Co Galway. Photo: Andrew Downes
Photo: Graignamanagh GAA/ ‏@Graiggaa
Floodwaters rage through Graignamanagh. Photo: Tom Moore ‏@Wexcoastbirds
A man enters the raging surf in Donegal. Photo: Bren Whelan/ ‏@wawrockclimbing
Photo: Irish Weather News/ ‏@iWeatherNews
A flooded hurling pitch in Inistioge. Credit: Paul Doyle Photography
An aerial view of the Quay at Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny. Credit: Paul Doyle Photography
A flooded picnic area in Inistioge
A picnic area at Inistioge. Photo: Paul Doyle Photography
The Quay at Thomastown. Credit: Paul Doyle Photography
The flooded hurling pitch at Inistioge. Credit: Paul Doyle Photography
A flooded garden in Inistioge. Credit: Paul Doyle Photography
Mourners are transported in a cattle trailer to Saints Island Graveyard. Photo: James Flynn/APX
Mourners travel with the coffin and in a cattle trailer as the remains of John Clarke are transported to Saints Island Graveyard, Co Longford, which was cut off due to flooding. Photo: James Flynn/APX
A daredevil has been caught on camera waterskiing along the N65 near Lorrha.
The River Lee continues to flood the Lee Fields at Carrigrohan road in Cork city. Photo: Daragh McSweeney/Provision
A flooded road in Inistioge Credit: Paul Doyle Photography
A Defence Forces plane flies over flooded bogs beside the River Suck in Ballinasloe earlier this month

Locals in a south Kilkenny town were fighting a losing battle, last night as flood waters continued to rise devastating scores of businesses and homeowners.

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Around midnight on Tuesday, the river Barrow and Duiske stream burst their banks in Graiguenamanagh, causing people to run out of pubs along the main street as flood waters dramatically washed away entrance doors with many home-owners having to rescued by fire units.

Junior Minister for Rural Affairs, Ann Phelan, who lives in the medieval town said the town was like as if, “a tsunami has hit.”  The Minister was out helping locals throughout yesterday.

“It really is like a tsunami here. I’ve been out throughout the night trying to help those badly affected. We have had flooding in the past but nothing ever like this. We have people trapped in their houses and apartments. People are just absolutely distraught.

“The army is also helping. The river is still rising significantly which is a massive worry. We didn’t think we would be hit in such a bad way. The Duiske stream is causing most of the trouble. The force from the river is unbelievable - it’s like a torrent. We have been calling for a flood relief scheme for years.

“The Office of Public Works (OPW) are looking at trying to help us with some sort of scheme but something just has to be done now. I have been in contact with officials within my Department overnight and provided a report on seriousness of the situation.

“Effected businesses can avail of the €8m scheme being operated by the Red Cross and private houses can avail of funding via the Department of Social Protection.

Junior Minister with special responsibility for the OPW Simon Harris, visited the area last night and met with affected residents and business owners.

The main street, quay areas remained impassable despite ongoing frantic efforts by emergency services to alleviate the situation. Tractors and diggers were the only forms of transport that would get through flood waters that were waist deep.

Business and homeowners are left counting the cost of thousands of euros in damage - the majority of which cannot get insurance due to flooding in the past.

Michael Doran, owner of the Supervalu supermarket, who has been in business for more than 30 years said: “This is the worst I’ve ever seen. The situation here really deteriorated by 2am on Wednesday.

“The majority of businesses around here cannot open and are left trying to clean up but there is the very real chance of flooding getting worse. Within minutes the place looked like an Irish version of Venice.

Also coping with the devastation was local Wayne Holden, “People here are just in shock as to what has happened. It’s just awful.”

Boots moored along the river were left floating on the roads submerged in the flood waters. Several access roads into the town were also blocked. The town was last flooded in 2008.

Meanwhile, in Thomastown, has experienced it’s worst flooding since 1968, with the army being called in to help residents and business owners battle rising waters along Market Street and Quay street.

Shem Caulfied, an owner affected by the floods has seen his home being badly affected. He was left trying to get around in the town by boat. “It is just horrendous. What can you do? You can’t control nature. But we are left trying to pick up the pieces again. Not a great start to a new year at all.”

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