Garryowen flash flood sites are assessed

Mike Dwane

Reporter:

Mike Dwane

PARTS of Garryowen overwhelmed by a flash flood last month have been assessed for future risk and a comprehensive gully-cleaning job is to be undertaken, according to Limerick City Council.

PARTS of Garryowen overwhelmed by a flash flood last month have been assessed for future risk and a comprehensive gully-cleaning job is to be undertaken, according to Limerick City Council.

Senior executive engineer John O’Shaughnessy said the affected areas were visited by staff last Tuesday, a day after the matter was raised at the transport and infrastructure committee by a frustrated Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon.

Cllr O’Hanlon said that people were trapped in their homes and children were being evacuated after 40mm of rain was tipped on Garryowen in the space of an hour on August 24.

Among the worst-affected areas, he said, were West Singland Road and Kilmurray Road. And Cllr O’Hanlon blasted as “totally inadequate” the response of the local authority.

On arriving on site, Cllr O’Hanlon had been met by one council worker who told him the gully-cleaning contractors and sandbags were on the way.

“Neither of these things happened,” said Cllr O’Hanlon, adding it was not right a councillor was “left high and dry” to deal with the emergency on his own.

He questioned the sense of Limerick City Council in awarding a gully-cleaning contract to a Galway company who, he said, had failed to turn up on the night.

Mr O’Shaughnessy told the Limerick Leader that the contractors were actually en route to the area when they were stood down by Limerick City Council as the waters had receded.

Gully-cleaning would now take place in the area but Mr O’Shaughnessy appeared to rule out putting further drains in the area.

“This was a one in 40-year flood event and we can’t design for every eventuality. Finances don’t allow for that,” he said.

The flooding in Garryowen on August 24 was aggravated by the number of gardens and yards that had been hard-surfaced over the years meaning “everything was directed into the drains”.

Council policy, Mr O’Shaughnessy said, preferred widely-available “permeable paving which allows water to permeate into the substrata at a similar rate as what a greenfield site would be”.