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We can't stop the floods

THE city's 200-year-old drains could not cope with the torrential downpours that hit last month, the council has said.

The intensity of the rain, coupled with drainage problems, was to blame for the Dublin floods, according to the authority.

Executive manager Tom Leahy said further investment and planning controls will be required, including the possible use of porous surfaces on roads and driveways.

Some €120m has been spent on flood works in the city over the past 10 years.

Where the improvements have been carried out such as the Liffey, Tolka and upper reaches of the Dodder, they held the water, Mr Leahy said.

He pointed out there is no national flood warning system in this country.

Met Eireann had predicted between 40-70mm of rain over 24 hours which would only cause localised flooding.

In the event, over 100mm of rain fell in just a few hours.

Local councillors strongly criticised the council's handling of the recent flood crisis at their monthly meeting.

They argued that despite "considerable warnings" from Met Eireann, council officials did not act in accordance with proper flood relief procedures.

In an interim report, assistant city manager Seamus Lyons said the council will seek to update drainage systems throughout the capital.

Useless

His report also suggested there is a need to install more gullies on roads and implement new methods such as porous roads which would prevent water from building up in a single area.

However, councillors argued that management should have "acted sooner" in their response because "hundreds of families and a number of local businesses are still picking up the pieces".

Cllr Ruairi McGinley (FG) said the council must conduct a "major reassessment of its flood works programme".

"We need a national approach on the matter because these issues cross local authority borders," Cllr McGinley said.

The council should also consider some sort of relief for businesses because certain places are still closed as a result of the floods."

Cllr Mannix Flynn (Ind) accused the council of "being too late" in its response.

"The response was slow. The emergency response is a collaborative body, but to announce an emergency at 8.15pm was too late."

He said the public should develop its own plan of action because he feels the council's approach was "useless".

Cllr Damien O'Farrell (Ind) also slammed the council for being too slow.

He said some homeowners are still suffering badly because they do not have home insurance to cover the damage that was caused.

He also argued that some residents have suffered for the third time in a row in the past three years from flood damage, despite raising their concerns with the council.

"I'm very annoyed for these people. Some areas look as though Dublin City Council never spent any money to prevent flooding incidents from happening."

Emergency

He said the flood response team took six hours to reach some residents, and that he received reports from locals that the emergency phone line was inactive.

According to the council's official report, 661 calls have been logged up until November 2.

However, those figures do not include calls to fire services and local area offices.

Assistant Manager Seamus Lyons said: "The intention, with available resources, is to work with the council to develop a plan as part of the Dublin Flood initiative to mitigate as far as it is possible the impact of this flood risk."


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