Waterways Ireland in the firing line over Limerick flooding

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

The canal gates which had to be forced open during the recent flooding
WATERWAYS Ireland has been criticised, with councillors claiming its actions in opening the Park Locke gates recently led people in Corbally to be unnecessarily flooded out their homes.

WATERWAYS Ireland has been criticised, with councillors claiming its actions in opening the Park Locke gates recently led people in Corbally to be unnecessarily flooded out their homes.

Calls have been made to bring executives of the agency before councillors, after 14 homes were left devastated by the inclement weather, which also affected Ard Scoil Mhuire.

And Mayor Liam Galvin has even called for a public apology from the firm after it suggested the council was responsible for the release of water.

Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon, Fianna Fail, said: “It is totally unacceptable what went on there. We need a full report from Waterways Ire-land. When so much work was put in, it was shameful the situation arose that people were unnecessarily flooded.”

Cllr Cian Prendiville, Anti-Austerity Alliance, said the floods generally are “as a result of the environmental des-truction which has been in place over the last 100 years”.

“But the floods in Corbally were different, and down to mistakes, including difficulties opening the Locke Gate. If any one thing had not happened, I don’t think those houses would have been flooded. We need a fuller investigation on it,” he added, saying “no other body” but Waterways Ireland are responsible – and it should be they who cover the cost of repairs. Elsewhere, the continuing issue of the flooding at the Hyde Road was also addressed, with a motion from Sinn Fein councillor Malachy McCreesh – calling on council to fund a permanent solution to the flooding – passed.

“It has been flooding there for 40 to 60 years. I am not sure why this has never reached the top of the list. But I think with the right will, we can do something,” he said: “Hyde Road is a main route in our city which is closed on a regular basis when rainfall volume increases.

“The fact that the flooding can be avoided by diverting along the by-pass at the bottom of Byrne Avenue might be a reason why this problem has not been at the top of the list over all those years.” The flooding causes problems for residents and motorists.

Cllr Michael Sheahan, Fine Gael, agreed, saying if the flooding occurred in O’Connell Avenue or Athlunkard Street, the problem would long since have been addressed.

Cllr Maurice Quinlivan, Sinn Fein, said: “The solution is to put a small pipe in the green area and connect it to the main drainage.”

Fine Gael councillor Maria Byrne said: “This issue goes back to the 1960s. I am used to bringing this up every year. A resolution has to be found.”

Former garda, Cllr Sean Lynch added: “I remember attending a fatal traffic accident on that stretch. Why has it taken so long for something to be done?”

Meanwhile,councillors passed a motion from Cllr Seighin O Ceallaigh that metropolitan councillors call on the government to act immediately on its promise to provide flood defences at the King’s Island and include Castleconnell, Lisnagry and Montpelier.