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Taoiseach pledges support for flood-stricken towns and roads

August 25th, 2020 11:45 AM

By Jackie Keogh

Grace Hayes in the flood waters in Rosscarbery.

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NOTICES telling people not to swim at the Warren Beach in Rosscarbery or in Tragumna near Skibbereen are just some of the consequences of the disastrous flooding that occurred last weekend.

The flooding has damaged homes and businesses, ruined roads, and presented Cork County Council with a repair bill that is likely to run into the millions.

Neil Grant, manager of the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery, told The Southern Star that while the loss of bathing facilities cannot compare with the hardship faced by the homeowners, or the businesses affected by the flooding, it does bring home the message that this extreme weather event also impacts on the visitor experience in West Cork, an area that is economically dependent on tourism.

Bathers wishing to avoid ingesting e-coli (bacteria), most likely caused by the heavy rain as well as run-off from the land, have been warned to stay away until further notice.

‘We also tend to point our guests in the direction of Red Strand, Rathbarry and the woods at Castlefreke, and our near neighbour, Glandore, but these areas have been affected too, especially the access roads,’ said Mr Grant.

Determined to be positive, he said: ‘It has to be said that there are still lots of interesting things to do in West Cork.’

Data from AIB this week showed Cork was the most visited county for staycations this summer.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil TD Christopher O’Sullivan told The Southern Star that he had spoken to the Taoiseach Micheál Martin – who was at his residence in Courtmacsherry last weekend – and made him fully aware of the devastation and the damage caused by the floods.

The TD said he had received an assurance from the Taoiseach that the government would prepare a response for the people living in the affected areas as soon as Cork County Council has finished its assessment of the situation.

Deputy O’Sullivan paid tribute to all the emergency service personnel and the Council staff who were ‘excellent in their response’ to the crisis situation – two major flood events over a four-day period.

After the initial devastation on Thursday morning, Rosscarbery, Dunmanway, Rathbarry, Owenahincha, Glandore, Drimoleague and Connonagh were hit by more heavy rains. The fact that the deluge landed on already-saturated ground on Saturday, compounded the problem and caused even further damage.

Deputy O’Sullivan visited people in the affected areas and saw first-hand how ‘extremely tough it is for businesses and families who are already under immense pressure because of the pandemic.’

Although this was extreme rainfall – with figures in the region of 230mm – the TD also made the point that ‘there is not enough outdoor staff available at Cork County Council to clean gullies and pipes’, and he said this had contributed to the disaster.

Speaking from his summer residence in Courtmacsherry, the Taoiseach confirmed to The Southern Star that he had spoken with Deputy O’Sullivan and seen the video footage he had sent him.

Micheál Martin said: ‘Cork County Council will be preparing reports for us, and the OPW will as well. The government will be supporting the Council and the OPW in its efforts to support the communities there in terms of the significant damage that has been done by the floods.’

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