Bandon's residents were ‘flooded' with rogue texts alerts

February 12th, 2017 2:39 PM

By Southern Star Team

Ann Marie O'Donovan got 249 texts to her phone about flood alerts.

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By Kieran O’Mahony

A BANDON business owner was bombarded with nearly 250 text messages from the Bandon Flood Early Warning System (FEWS) on Tuesday afternoon after a technical fault saw the system issue numerous inaccurate text alerts to subscribers of the service.

Ann Marie O’Donovan, who owns The Vanity Vault on South Main Street, told The Southern Star that the messages started at approximately 2pm on Tuesday and they were coming in every second after that.

‘After about 10 minutes I turned the ‘do not disturb’ on as it was driving me crazy and then I checked before I sent a tweet to Cork County Council, and that’s when I saw the 249 messages,’ said Ann Marie.

‘I spoke to other business owners in the town and they were receiving the same messages. When I got the first red warning I knew something was wrong, as I had seen the river that morning and unless there was a tidal wave that no one knew  about, a red alert was an impossibility!’

Ann Marie has had the alerts on her phone since the 2011 floods and always double checks the website as ‘the messages never seem to match the graph.’

Cork County Council issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon and apologised for any inconvenience that the texts caused to subscribers. ‘Due to a technical fault in the Bandon Flood Early Warning System, the system has inadvertently been issuing a number of inaccurate text alerts to subscribers. Cork County Council wishes to advise that it is a systems fault and subscribers are advised to ignore the content of the messages,’ said a statement from Cork County Council.

Cork County Council added that they took immediate steps to try and identify the source of the fault that gave rise to the erroneous messages and said the inaccurate text alerts should be disregarded. They confirmed that the current FEWS forecast is ‘Green’ with little rain forecast for the coming week.

The Bandon FEWS has been in operation since 2011 and issues text alerts to businesses and residents when there is a risk of flooding in the town. Several recipients of the text messages took to social media to highlight the glitch with Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Hayes tweeting that ‘as someone joked, it’s like a drunk ex texting at 3am on a Saturday morning!!!’

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