Storm Frank left much of the country under water last Tuesday night and all hands were on deck to alleviate the devastating consequences that occurred across Wexford.
Enniscorthy was badly hit by severe floods when torrential rain caused the River Slaney to burst its banks. Parts of the town including Abbey Quay and Templeshannon Quay were left submerged in murky water which caused significant damage to homes and businesses in the area.
In anticipation of the flooding, Enniscorthy Municipal District handed out 3000 sandbags to residents and businesses on Tuesday night. However, the sandbags were not enough to prevent the devastation and disruption felt by business owners and residents around the town.
‘The sandbags proved successful to a point but the water came in very quickly,’ said Minister Paul Kehoe. ‘It was uncontrollable. All businesses on the whole quayside had to close.’
Director of Services for Wexford County Council Eamonn Hore outlined some of the other measures that were taken in Enniscorthy prior to the storm.
‘We took the registration numbers for people’s cars and advised them to move them and we contacted others directly by knocking on their doors.’
Following the flooding, both bridges in the town were closed, making the N11 Dublin to Wexford route impassable through the town. The R744 Blackwater to Enniscorthy road was also closed at Templeshannon.
Though Enniscorthy was the worst affected by the torrential rain, reports of localised flooding across the county were widespread. Wexford County Council reported several roads as impassable including: the N11 at Kyle’s Cross, Campile village, the R730 outside of the Heritage Park, Lower Ballyhack/ Arthurstown, Wellingtonbridge, Castlebridge, areas along the R733 Duncannon Line, Edermine, the N80 at Bunclody, the R737 Kilbride Cross to Duncannon Road and Ferry Bridge in New Ross. In Gorey Ahare Bridge at Castletown, The Island Bridge, Craanford and the Cahore to Oldbawn Road were all closed due to flooding. Traffic travelling from Wexford to Dublin was diverted through New Ross.
According to Mr Hore, approximately 300 people were involved with the efforts to relieve the effects of the flood throughout the county.
‘We made road detours, hired in contractors, got lighting and manned junctions. We also updated people on the situation on Twitter, Southeast Radio and the Council website. We liaised with the civil defence and An Garda Siochána,’ said Mr Hore.
Two temporary water pumps were also put in place in New Ross when supplies from the river were interrupted.
‘As much was done as possible,’ said Mr Hore.
Despite the measures taken, Mr Hore said that some people in Enniscorthy are bound to be annoyed that the flood relief scheme isn’t in place.
‘At least that has advanced and consultants have been appointed. Not everywhere has that,’ he continued. ‘At least now the funding has been promised, an engineer has been employed and the detailed design has started. Now we can say it is under way. Before, we just hoped for it.’
Speaking on Thursday, Director of Services for Enniscorthy Pádraig O’Gorman said that ‘the only thing that will alleviate the problem is the flood relief scheme.’
‘It is a matter of moving that on,’ he added. Mr O’ Gorman said that those who were affected by the recent flooding have been ‘very supportive’ of the scheme and added that many are looking to see it commence ‘as quickly as possible’. Before work begins, he said that there are certain processes that need to be carried out.
‘The final design has to be finalised and approved and there are some environmental things that need to be done. After that, we should be able to move on.’
As warnings are made ahead of anticipated storms in the future, Mr Hore said that the he expects the council to ‘react as well, if not a little better’ should a reoccurence take place. In the meantime, homeowners and businessowners are making efforts to piece their lives back together. While Minister Kehoe, an ‘awful lot’ of damage has been done, he said that there is help out there for those that have been affected.
‘For businesspeople, there’s a fund through the Irish Red Cross which allows them to access €5000 within three or four days. People can fill out the application and send it into Wexford County Council for verification,’ he said. For people in residential properties, there is a fund administered through the Department of Social Protection and a Welfare Officer can help people with that.’
‘we are encouraging people to apply for the aid. I can’t emphasise that enough. We want to make sure that people are assisted in every way.’
(First published in the Enniscorthy Guardian/ Wexford People: print editions. Also available online at: http://www.wexfordpeople.ie/news/storm-frank-leaves-county-submerged-34336980.html)