OPW to 'accept full liability' after failed river defences flooded homes and GAA club
Homeowners flooded out when emergency work to repair defences on the River Shannon failed will be compensated by the Office of Public Works, a Fine Gael senator said yesterday.
The OPW will "accept full liability" for the flooding, said Senator Kieran O'Donnell.
Families whose homes were destroyed by floodwaters in Coonagh, Co Limerick, have been relocated to a hotel as a major clean-up operation continues after the deluge last weekend.
The OPW acknowledged in a statement that temporary measures put in place to try to repair a damaged sluice flood defence at Coonagh had failed, leading to the flooding.
The water overwhelmed five houses, and poured into Na Piarsaigh GAA club.
The cost of the clean-up and repairs is likely to run into hundreds of thousands of euro.
Mr O'Donnell said: "I have spoken to Minister Kevin 'Boxer' Moran [the Public Works Minister] and he confirmed to me the OPW are accepting full liability for this.
"Furthermore, he has arranged for OPW engineers to visit the affected households and GAA club to advise OPW independent assessors with immediate effect.
"If homeowners want to engage independent assessors, they can and the OPW will meet the cost of this."
Further temporary measures completed on the embankment on Monday have continued to hold despite further high tides.
More high tides are expected in the Coonagh area today before water levels are expected to reduce.
Senator O'Donnell said that Limerick City and County Council officials were calling to flooded homes, "emptying septic tanks and advising residents on health and safety matters".
When asked for a response to Senator O'Donnell's comments, the OPW stated: "The OPW is today making direct contact with those directly affected by this flood event.
"The information from these meetings will help to provide those directly affected with the information that can assist them, including as a priority returning people to their homes."
In response to a query as to the circumstances behind the collapse of the sluice, an OPW spokesman replied: "The OPW will be conducting an investigation into the cause of the damage to the sluice."