The past week has been extraordinary in terms of rainfall and flooding in the country. Some counties like Cork and Clare have been badly hit but Waterford city, which used to have a major flood problem in the past along the quays, fared better than most. The Tramore road is continually a problem with the bog road flooding frequently.
The Waterford Quay defences were strengthened a number of years ago and they are holding firm. Up the river in Clonmel, where the river area is tighter, they have again had major floods. Shops and houses find it hard to get flood insurance and they have again had a major disaster.
Fortunately, there is no serious injury or loss of life, but the disruption is dreadful for the people involved. Farmers have also been badly affected with fields flooded and livestock in danger. Extra feed costs will ensue which cannot really be afforded. One prominent farm economist says that they are down 25 per cent in income without this flood problem on the lands that has damaged fodder.
The government will be asked to assist in rescuing the farmers with some type of aid package. Farmers in Britain have also been hit so there will be calls to Brussels and the European Union to provide some emergency aid.
Land in County Waterford was badly hit and, as our Friday edition showed, Portlaw, which is part of the Suir basin, was badly hit. On a positive note, Carrick on Suir survived the flooding as the flood defences withheld onrushing waters. Clonmel suffered as its flood defences were only partially built.
The heavy weather over the week will slow down the shoppers’ urge to go out and prepare for Christmas. The flooding in Cork will have put off Waterford shoppers from heading in that direction. River water levels will still remain high this week so we cannot be sure how long the crisis will last.
Full credit to the emergency services for their work and helping people get out of difficult situations. The Fire Brigade, Gardai and local authority workers have all been busy with road closures.
Will some bridges need examining in outlying areas? In Britain they reckon that bridges over 100 years old may need to be re-built as some were found to be heavily weakened by fast rushing rivers of 25 miles per hour.
Engineers in the various local authorities will need to be examining road bridges to see how they have been affected. We all know what happened in Dublin in the summer when a railway bridge collapsed. Better to be safe than sorry.