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A woman jogger surveys the damage in Clontarf. Photo: Doug O'Connor

A woman jogger surveys the damage in Clontarf. Photo: Doug O'Connor

A woman jogger surveys the damage in Clontarf. Photo: Doug O'Connor

Safety boss pleads with public to stay away from stormy seas as young boy hit by wave in Dalkey

A MAJOR flood alert remains in place with heavy rain set to batter the country.

The public have been warned to stay away from harbours and cliffs as stormy conditions are set to continue.

The call came as a man with two children was caught unawares by a freak wave at Dalkey's Bullock Harbour yesterday.

Our pictures show the little boy being swept off his feet by the wave, which crashed onto the pier. Bystanders said it was luck that the child was not swept away.

"The little boy almost got washed into the harbour," an eyewitness told the Herald.

Meanwhile, John Leech, chief executive of Irish Water Safety, urged the public to stay a safe distance from stormy seas.

"We have had instances of the Coastguard having to rescue people from piers," he said. "We don't want that continuing."

Mr Leech also urged people wishing to photograph spectacular waves not to put themselves "in jeopardy".

Camera enthusiasts should use telephoto lens to photograph stormy scenes from a safe distance, he added.

A Dublin City Council spokesman said there was no significant flooding in the city yesterday and no road closures.

The wooden bridge from Clontarf to Bull Island was closed on Saturday due to high waves, but it stayed open yesterday.



Flood gates will remain in position on the Tolka and Dodder rivers for the rest of this week. Sandbags will also remain along the seafront at Clontarf as a precaution. And water pumps are in position at strategic locations in case they are needed.

Property owners in Clontarf and Sandymount were advised to have flood protection measures in place to protect homes.

Limerick, Clare, Cork, Waterford and Kerry suffered the worst damage with records set for rainfall and floods.

And gale-force winds, heavy rain and new high tides are all expected tonight despite the relative calm this afternoon, Met Eireann said.

Experts added that Ireland was facing another fortnight of torment thanks to a "storm factory" in the Atlantic.

Cold polar air pressing against warn tropical air hundreds of miles off the coast has created the perfect storm conditions.

The next storm brewing at sea will land later today and last into tomorrow, with another to follow on Friday and Saturday.

"There's effectively a storm factory over the Atlantic, caused by cold polar air pressing up against warm air," said Dr Andrew Barrett, from Reading University.

Where gets hit next, depends on the wind direction when the storm lands, said Met Eireann. "The south coast was worst affected in recent days because the prevailing winds are from the south," it added.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan and OPW minister Brian Hayes travelled to Limerick to see the devastation caused by the weekend floods and to meet residents of St Mary's Park, which remained under water last night.

Although the water level has dropped a little, homes and cars are still submerged.

A tidal surge warning – with 5m swells – has been issued for Cork this evening, adding to the destruction caused in the city yesterday, where traders were facing their third flood clean-up in four weeks after the River Lee burst its banks.

Flooding almost cut the Kilmeaden to Carrick-on-Suir road while Tramore was left counting the cost of further storm damage as the promenade was left underwater.

Just three weeks ago, Tramore's Strand Road suffered major damage when storms breached sea walls and created a giant sink-hole in the roadways.

Such was the scale of the surge and torrential rainfall that other towns and villages including Passage East, Ballyhack, Cheekpoint and Arthurstown were left flooded.

Fianna Fáil environment spokesman Barry Cowen has called on the Government to outline what steps have been taken to secure EU funding for relief works.



"This is the second bout of extreme weather to hammer parts of the country since Christmas," Mr Cowen said.

"It's caused severe flooding and serious damage. The Government should have contacted the European Commission to see what support is available."

Hours after the annual Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat dinner dance ended on Friday night, a combination of high tide and swells damaged Bundoran Lifeboat Station.

Crew who arrived at the station at around 7.20am discovered water had broken down the main front door as well as the bottom panels on another large door.

Operations manager for Bundoran RNLI Tony McGowan said: "Having viewed CCTV, it was remarkable how one big surge, which was at least two metres higher than the rest, caused the damage. It is easy to see how people can be caught out."

Met Eireann revealed the country saw above average rainfall in January. It also recorded its highest ever wave – 77ft – off Glencolmcille, Co Donegal, on January 26.