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Eleanor reawakens residents’ worst flood fears

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NIGHTMARE SCENARIO Carrowholly residents last night feared they would have to relive the nightmare they suffered in 2014 when many of their homes were inundated by floodwater (pictured). Pic: Michael McLaughlin (2014)

 

Call for flood-defence repairs in Carrowholly as floods rage once more, leaving residents cut off and frightened


Edwin McGreal

Immediate action has been demanded to protect homeowners in Carrowholly, outside Westport, who remain vulnerable to flood waters due to an ongoing delay in flood defence measures.
Cllr Christy Hyland (Ind) made the call this morning (Wednesday) after watching the effect of Storm Eleanor combined with the high tide early this morning at Carrowholly. Yesterday evening, up to 30 homes in Carrowholly were cut off when a local road was flooded.
The road, which has been left bereft of flood barriers since they were damaged in storms in early 2014, was closed this morning and had suffered surface damage.
No homes were flooded this time, though one shed was ‘badly flooded’ due to waters flooding in from Clew Bay.
Cllr Hyland said locals are at their wits end.
“How long have we to wait before something is done here?” he asked. “The residents in Carrowholly are very unhappy and fierce frustrated. The money is there to erect flood defences. I spoke to Minister Michael Ring who confirmed this, but the locals in Carrowholly are pawns in a bureaucratic game between the Office of Public Works and Mayo County Council,” said Cllr Hyland.

‘Long night’
Last night’s flooding was a reminder for locals of the damage caused by storms and high tides in January 2014, which saw one local bridge felled and considerable damage to homes, roads and property in the area.
“People are sick of waiting [for the flood barriers to be repaired],” said Cllr Hyland. “One local man asked me: ‘Could we close the road some night and put a few fills of concrete in ourselves, seeing as the State agencies let us down again and again?’. It’s hard to blame them for wanting to take action themselves.
“I was out here at 6.50am [this morning, Wednesday] and two sections of the road were flooded. I don’t know if one part of the road is safe to take traffic, particularly any heavy traffic. How many times are we going to go around in circles until we get action? It is long gone beyond a joke.
“These people had a long night waiting to see what damage would come with the high tide at 5.30am. It could have been a lot worse than it was but these people deserve much better than having to wait again and again for the flood barrier to be built.”

Power cuts
Meanwhile, ESB Networks hopes that those ESB customers who are still without electricity will have their power supply reconnected before the evening as crews work to repair damage caused by high winds. Up to 10,000 customers were left without electricity overnight due to high winds knocking powerlines across the county.
Crews from Dublin and Portloaise were drafted in at first light on Wednesday morning to assist the local ESB crews to restore the power supply. By lunchtime, up to 4,000 customers across the county were still without power but an ESB spokesperson told The Mayo News that they hoped that all customers will be restored by this evening.
“We apologise to all our customers for the inconvenience. Our crews were out last night in difficult conditions and this morning we drafted in crews from other parts of the country to assist the local ESB Networks crews on the ground. It is still quite windy out there but we hope to have power back to our remaining customers by tonight,” the spokesperson said.

Water supply
A water tanker was placed in the car park in SuperValu in Kiltimagh after a power outage, as Storm Eleanor cut off the electricity flow to the water treatment plant in Kiltimagh, resulting in a loss of water supply for customers. Crews from Irish Water and Mayo County Council have connected up a temporary generator at the plant until the mains power supply is restored by the ESB.
While this will bring the water treatment plant back into operation, Irish Water said it will however be a number of hours before treated water will be back in the system. Power to pumping stations in outlining areas will continue to be affected and water to these areas will continue to be interrupted until full power is restored to by the ESB.
The water taker will remain in place in Kiltimagh until the water supply is restored. Irish Water wished to remind customers to use their own containers when taking water from the tankers and to boil water before consumption as a precautionary measure.

Roads
All primary roads across the county are clear of any fallen trees or debris and Mayo County Council are currently clearing minor roads.
Martina Hughes, the Council’s Head of Communications said there was a lot of surface water on roads in the west of the county at the height of the storm but no roads are currently impassable.

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