Friday 20 April 2018

Army lay down 10,000 sandbags along Shannon weak points

Members of the Irish Army placing sandbags around a house in Castleconnell
Members of the Irish Army placing sandbags around a house in Castleconnell
Members of the Irish Army placing sandbags around a house in Castleconnell
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

The Army were out in force in Limerick yesterday, securing vulnerable homes from the dark and rising waters of the River Shannon.

More than 10,000 sandbags have been filled and handed out in the Castleconnell area but some homes have already been badly hit.

However, Limerick City and county councils have been using the floods from 2009 as a guide to protect the homes that are most vulnerable.

Area engineer for the council, John Sheehan, said this had helped them to target weak points.

"It is very likely that we will be here for the weekend. It all depends on the weather conditions," he said. "We have filled more than 4,000 or 5,000 and got in another 5,000 bags that were already filled," he added.

"We are easily past the 10,000 mark now at this stage."

However, he said that some homes were still at risk of flooding and further work would have to be done to secure them.

"It is still ongoing, so we have set up barriers at locations that we know are particularly bad," he said.

"We got a trial run at this in 2009 when we were badly affected, so we have been able to put measures in place in blackspots," he added.

"Back in 2010, we built a barrier near eight or nine houses that flooded. We should be able to save those houses now with the use of a few six-inch pumps."

The worst-affected homes were accessible only by trucks and tractors, as the Army distributed sand bags at a vulnerable home near a village yesterday.

Corporal Angela Aylemer said the working conditions were challenging but added that they were happy to help out.

"A lot of homes are under pressure... [as we are] stacking the bags and unloading them," she said. We got a break for about 10 minutes.

"A cup of tea to keep us warm and then it was back to work," she added.

"We were in barracks since 6.00 am and have been out since 7.00 am but we don't mind."

Meanwhile, farmers in county Clare were securing livestock and their homes.

Rising water from the river Shannon continued to fill floodplains yesterday but was receding.

However, more rain at the weekend is expected to make many homes and farms in the area inaccessible over the weekend.

Farmer Miriam McCormick, from Shravokee, said that they had brought their cattle in last week. However, she said that she was concerned about her land being waterlogged and ruined by the rising river.

"That is a hidden cost that nobody can see," she said.

"It was a fine year and the cattle were out later in the year, so when we got the text from the ESB we made sure that the rest of the cattle were up," she added.

Irish Independent

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