Monday 23 October 2017

Locals fear repeat of 2008 crisis

River Finnihy burst its banks in 2008
River Finnihy burst its banks in 2008
Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

IT happened for the first time in living memory in October 2008. But since then fear of further flooding is never too far away from the minds of Kenmare residents.

Insurance companies are also quick to remind business owners in the Co Kerry tourist town of the risks when their premiums are due for renewal each year.

Local businessman and president of the Chamber of Commerce, John O'Sullivan Ford, said that the town has been identified as "at risk" of flooding.

And six years ago that risk became a reality for some unfortunate families and businesses in the town.

On the afternoon of October 23, 2008, the Main Street and parts of the Market Square were flooded to depths of over half a metre when the Finnihy River burst its banks, flooding 37 houses and 11 commercial properties.

Tidal conditions, often a factor in flood related problems in Kenmare, were ruled out in a Kerry County Council report.

Concerns were expressed locally that development along the river during the boom might have added to the problem.

Mr O'Sullivan Ford – who runs a drapery store in the Square that has been in the family for three generations – said his business escaped the worst but the floods caused a huge amount of damage in the town.

"The older people in the town never recalled anything like that happening before and it has never happened since," he said.

Irish Independent

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