SIMPLE bags of sand have helped stop hundreds of homes being overcome by floodwaters.
Martin Tierney, manager of Sacks Online Ltd in Newport, says in Limerick alone they have supplied 6,000 filled and 20,000 empty bags.
In total, they have sold 120,000 of the regular size and 2,500 of the large ones which can hold 1,000kgs.
In Castleconnell a big line of them are protecting The Mall wall close to the village centre. That road in front of Scanlon Park was completely flooded in 2009 but it has been passable for the last month. On the other side of the wall the Shannon flows furiously as water is released from Parteen Weir. But the giant bags have kept the wall secure to date, even when the release rate rose to 470 cubic metres per second.
“Last year we used a lot of the big ones in Co Kerry and Co Clare to build up banks and stop coastline erosion. In Castleconnell they are supporting The Mall wall,” said Martin.
Demand has been so high that their stock is running low.
“We brought in a lot from the UK but the UK is annihilated now as well. We are going to be chasing trying to get stock. We are pretty much out. We managed to scrape a few over the holidays, we have 5,000 coming on Tuesday and are getting more in on and Wednesday,” said Martin, who was speaking this Monday.
He says demand has reduced in recent days but as there are still different areas of the country being flooded they need bags as well. “It has been fairly hectic. We have been answering the phones all through Christmas and the New Year. Every single day we have been out delivering bags.
“We have people calling from all over the country. Kilkenny CountyCouncil got a bit of a surprise, they weren’t expecting it. It has been from all over the country really,” said Martin. Their website, www.sacks.ie even has a special section for local authorities to place orders. The small bags cost 25 cent each or €3 for a filled bag.
“It was a busy time over Christmas but if the phone rings you have to answer it because they have bigger problems than we have so we answered the phone through the holidays. We ran around and delivered them,” said Martin.
The best way to maximise the use of sandbags is to include plastic when you are laying then out.
Martin says to place a sheet of plastic under the sandbags and when you’ve built up the wall or dam, wrap the plastic sheet up over the back of the sandbags. It will give double protection, he says.
While business boomed for Sacks Online with their sandbags many will hope it is their other goods that fill orders in 2016 and into the future