Monday 19 February 2018

Troops on standby to evacuate homeowners

Soldiers from the 12th Battalion, Sarsfield Barracks, Limerick, help deliver sandbags in Clonlara, Co Clare
Soldiers from the 12th Battalion, Sarsfield Barracks, Limerick, help deliver sandbags in Clonlara, Co Clare
Tom Brady

Tom Brady

More than 300 troops have been deployed on frontline flood relief duties since the operation swung into action on Saturday.

So far the Army has been involved in rescuing people stranded in their homes in isolated areas and moving them to more secure locations as well as sandbagging houses and business premises and assisting local authorities with flood defence measures.

Further detachments of personnel, including specialist engineer units, were on standby late last night and ready at immediate notice to be drafted into flashpoint centres in counties Donegal, Galway, Westmeath, Limerick and Cork.

The specialist sections, backed up by transport, are awaiting a call for assistance from the local authorities to move in.

If the flooding deteriorates rapidly, the Army will also likely be involved in helping to take locals, who have to abandon their homes quickly, to special emergency centres if the victims have nowhere else to go.

The Air Corps has also been carrying out reconnaissance missions with staff from the Office of Public Works, to assess the flooding.

During yesterday's operation, 15 soldiers and two troop carrying vehicles (TCVs) were deployed in Clonlara, Co Clare; another 30 troops and four TCVs in Castleconnell, Co Limerick; 12 troops and two TCVs in Ballinasloe, Co Galway; 35 troops and four TCVs in Athlone, Co Westmeath; and three soldiers and one TCV rescuing stranded householders in Claregalway, Co Galway.

On Tuesday, 29 personnel from Custume barracks in Athlone were involved in flood relief efforts in the town, filling and distributing sandbags and transporting people to and from homes cut off by flood water.

Meanwhile, 15 personnel from Sarsfield barracks in Limerick reinforced flood defences in Castleconnell with another 22 filling and distributing sandbags in Claregalway, Lisheenavalla and Ballinasloe.

On Monday, 10 personnel and two TCVs supported flood relief efforts in Ballinasloe, with another 10 and one TCV in Portumna, Co Galway, and seven more with a TCV in Claregalway.

On Sunday TCVs were deployed with 17 personnel to Ballinasloe, a further three to Foxford, Co Mayo, and seven to Claregalway.

A significant number of members of the Defence Forces were also deployed on back-up logistical duties including catering, preparing the transport and filling the sand vehicles.

Irish Independent

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