| 6.8°C Dublin

Terrifying deluge which has Arklow residents in fear

Motorists were again urged to drive with caution, as new dangers -- namely potholes and subsidence -- emerged on roads after the heavy snowfalls.

Melting snow and swollen rivers over the weekend left swathes of the country still counting the cost of the cold spell.

Water supply was still cut off to thousands of homes, with restrictions and low-water pressure affecting many homes in Dublin, Westmeath, Cork, Clare and Kilkenny.

Damage

While temperatures were mild today, AA Roadwatch still warned motorists to drive with care "as there has been a lot of damage on road surfaces."

There were reports of "very bad" potholes on roads like the N59 Galway/Clifden Road.

And in Wicklow, there was surface water and a lot of road damage in the Roundwood and Laragh areas, with some subsidence on secondary roads in the county, AA Roadwatch said.

It reported major road damage and subsidence in counties Cork, Monaghan, Wexford, Cavan, Meath, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Offaly and Sligo.

Flooding over the weekend led to the quays being closed in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, and in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, while residents were evacuated from their homes in Bray, Co Wicklow, due to floods.

The Vartry river burst its banks between Ashford and Rathnew on Saturday, while the bridge over the Avoca river in Arklow was closed after the town experienced its worst flooding since Hurricane Charley in 1986.

Homes were evacuated and roads from Vale Road to Aughrim were severely damaged.

The main bridge across the Avoca in Arklow re-opened yesterday afternoon.

Iarnrod Eireann said rail services between Wicklow and Arklow on the Dublin/ Gorey/ Rosslare line have now resumed following flooding on the line.

Arklow Councillor Pat Fitzgerald (FF) said that sections of rural roads had been swept away by the floods, and the council would be carrying out a detailed assessment of the damage.

"The cost of repairing the damage will run to millions of euro," he claimed.

Bus Eireann said normal services in the town had resumed following the re-opening of the bridge in Arklow.

A number of residents were forced to leave their homes, but Wicklow County Council engineers yesterday passed the Nineteen Arches bridge as safe after a structural examination.

Meanwhile, thousands of households in Dublin, Meath and Westmeath were still without running water a week after the snow and ice started to melt.

Dublin City Council urged people in the city not to use water to wash cars, paths or for any non-essential use due to the severe shortage of water.

The prolonged freeze caused a dramatic increase in broken water mains and crews are struggling to fix the pipes.

The city council said that in those areas in which water supply has been restored, "it can take a number of hours to distribute water back into the network and reach sufficient water-pressure levels".

Tankers were still distributing water to areas of Dublin and the council said such water should be boiled before use for drinking or cooking purposes.

Radical

Meanwhile, farmers have demanded a radical change in the country's flood-management system at a public forum in Ballinasloe.

IFA president John Bryan said it was time for control of the largest waterway in the country, the Shannon, to be vested in a single body.

"The plethora of agencies involved in waterways policy has contributed to the flooding problems," he said.

Met Eireann said the weather will remain changeable and unsettled for the rest of the week and over the coming weekend, but it will not be exceptionally cold at any stage.

mlavery@herald.ie


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