FRUSTRATED business owners and residents in Bandon are seeking answers as to how parts of the town, including Bridge St and Brady’s Lane, got flooded during Storm Francis, despite a multimillion euro flood relief scheme which is near completion.
Almost 70,000 gallons of water were pumped out by crews from Bandon Fire Brigade, assisted by agricultural contractors, in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Hickey’s newsagents – which has been flooded on numerous occasions – was hit again, but luckily suffered no stock damage even though water did enter the shop floor.
Just up the street, Linehan’s Menswear was facing a familiar sight, as the shop was flooded for the second time in two weeks and the fourth time in its 26 years in business there. The water came up through the sewers and into the back of Con Linehan’s stockroom, through both of his back doors.
‘It came in as far as the shop counter and we were lucky that it didn’t spread more. I put all my stock up high to make sure none of it was flood damaged,’ said Con
‘I’m totally exhausted from this now and totally burnt out. I have been working all night and day to get the shop open. I want to thank all the people who came to our assistance too.’
Senator Tim Lombard said that the people of Bandon were fearing that it could have been 2009 all over again – the year the town was devastated by floods.
‘The first place that always gets flooded is Hickey’s Corner and that still isn’t sorted,’ he pointed out.
He said there will be many ‘sleepless nights’ in Bandon before this issue is resolved and the fact is that ‘Bandon isn’t safe.’
Hilary O’Farrell, chair of the Bandon Business Association (BBA) said business owners had been given ‘a false sense of security’.
‘We have a flood relief scheme almost completed, but it didn’t work on Monday night, and it has to be investigated. It’s not good enough,’ said Hilary.
Councillors held an emergency meeting on Tuesday afternoon seeking clarity about reports that a underground pump on Brady’s Lane hadn’t kicked in.
Cork County Council has said that early indications are that the drainage and sewer network was overwhelmed by the volume of rainfall that night.
‘The OPW have advised that the level of the River Bandon was relatively low during this rainfall event and drains were able to discharge by gravity to the water.
‘The limitation on Monday night appears to have been the capacity of the pipes and gullies.’
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath will visit Bandon this Thursday while local Fianna Fáil TD Christopher O’Sullivan said he is determined to get answers over what happened.
Businesses damaged by the flooding may be eligible for humanitarian assistance through the Red Cross.
Meanwhile, Dunmanway was, for the second time in a fortnight, also hit by flooding but escaped any significant damage.
Local councillor Declan Hurley said it wasn’t as severe as the flooding following Storm Helen, but residents along Chapel St were anxious following the intensity of rain that fell the night.
‘I knew myself from past experience that it had the ingredients to get bad again and I contacted the Council on the emergency number at around 1am and they sent out crews and started pumping the water,’ said Cllr Hurley.