In the immediate aftermath of the impact of Storm Desmond both the Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey and the Mayor of the County, Cllr. John Paul O’Shea have expressed their recognition of the deep frustration and anger of many communities of Cork County at the impact of flooding on business and family life.
Council Chief Executive, Tim Lucey said “I fully recognise the deep frustration and anger expressed in many towns and villages and particularly in Skibbereen and Bandon which were worst affected over the weekend. I have seen and heard first hand the damage caused but to have such events visited on communities twice in the period of 6 years is particularly devastating.”
Mr. Lucey went on to stay that “Cork County Council has treated the progression of flood defences as a priority across the county working in tandem with the lead agency nationally for development of flood defence works, the Office of Public Works, to advance Flood Relief schemes particularly for Schemes in Bandon and Skibbereen . This process now also includes the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and considerable work has gone into the schemes to bring them to their current status. In both cases, it is envisaged that, subject to statutory, tendering and contracting processes all moving ahead unhindered, that contractors could be on site in both locations by the middle of 2016. In both towns the development of Flood Warning Systems has been beneficial but completion of the flood defence works has and continues to be of paramount importance ”
Mr Lucey added “With particular reference to Bandon as being the worst affected town, for the past number of years dredging has taken place in or about the bridge in Bandon which has been beneficial to date in improving the carrying capacity of the river under normal circumstances. This was again carried out in September of this year and, despite the work being limited as flow in the river was considerable at the time, and the cumulative positive impacts of ongoing dredging, the intensity and duration of the rainfall was so great over the past number of days that this dredging would have made no significant difference on the current level of flooding.”
Both the Chief Executive and County Mayor, Cllr. John Paul O’Shea stated “We wish to particularly compliment and thank the active flood committees in both Bandon and Skibbereen for their active community support as well as all Cork County Council staff and the emergency response teams from the council and other agencies who worked through Saturday and into Sunday to minimise as far as possible the impact of flooding.”
Mr Lucey continued to advise that “The towns of Bandon and Skibbereen were on standby all day with levels in the Rivers Bandon and Ilen rising. County Council crews were deployed from early morning clearing blockages and the Civil Defence and Army were mobilised in Bandon as the threat of major flooding developed.
The Bandon River FEWS (flood early warning system), which had been on Yellow alert (minor flooding) for several days was upgraded to Orange alert (serious flooding) at midday on Saturday and further upgraded to Red alert (major flooding) about an hour later giving significant advance notice to the community of the seriousness of the situation.
Sand bags were distributed to premises throughout the afternoon but it was late in the evening before flooding commenced at South Main Street, Watergate Street and the N71 as far as the roundabout at Baxter’s Bridge which were closed to traffic until Sunday morning. The river peaked at 3.4metres around 2.30am and emergency crews were engaged throughout the night with County Fire Service units from Bandon, Kinsale and Clonakilty deployed.
The situation in Skibbereen was also monitored throughout the day as levels in the Ilen River increased dramatically. Sand bags were distributed and there was flooding on Marsh Road and Mill Road initially. Flooding later occurred at Townshend Street and the N71 junction at Mill Road/Bantry Road- R594 were closed overnight and reopened on Sunday morning.
Across the remainder of the county West Cork bore the brunt of Storm Desmond on Saturday with many regional roads impassable in the Crookstown, Inchigeelagh, Ballingeary, Manch and Dunmanway areas and there were reports of a number of houses flooded.
There was disruption to water supplies in Bandon, Inchigeelagh and Adrigole and other localised areas and Council crews worked throughout Sunday to restore supply.
Cork County Council issued regular updates to the media, AA Roadwatch and posts on Facebook and Twitter. However, a technical issue prevented further updates on the CCC website.