Energy chiefs warn of further floods

Energy chiefs today warned of further possible damaging floods along the Shannon after the swollen river reached record levels.

As Taoiseach Brian Cowen visits the worst affected regions, the ESB said parts of counties Clare and Limerick faced further damage.

“Exceptional flooding along the River Shannon – the highest on record - requires ESB to increase the amount of water that must be released at Parteen Weir,” the ESB said.

“The discharge levels have been growing in recent days but the release of higher volumes of water downstream will become unavoidable later today.

“Localised downstream areas can expect higher flood levels as a result.”

The Parteen Weir controls the flow of water into Ardnacrusha power station further downstream.

Councils in Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary and local emergency services warned areas from Parteen downstream to Limerick city faced further floods later today.

Mr Cowen, in Cork before visiting Clare and Galway, said the focus of work should be on helping those affected by floods.

The Taoiseach refused to be drawn on calls for an inquiry into the floods.

The Irish Farmers’ Association has been fiercely critical of the Government since swathes of land, towns and cities were left under several feet of water last week.

IFA president Padraig Walshe hit out at flood prevention schemes, calling for a return to the old practice of regularly clearing rivers and streams.

“Spending millions of euro on flood defences will only protect the town where they are built, and will push the problem downstream to other towns and rural areas,” Mr Walshe said.

The IFA leader also repeated his call for an emergency package to assist those worst affected by the flooding crisis.

Meanwhile, Coast Guard director Chris Reynolds urged the public to take extra care in flooded and coastal areas.

“The public is strongly advised not to go out on exposed coasts, cliffs, piers, harbour walls, beaches, promenades or any other coastal areas,” he said.

“Do not attempt to cross at fast running river or flood water fords as they may be stronger and deeper than you think.

“Flooded urban areas may contain many hazards, not least of which include submerged open manholes and downed power lines.

“The combination of tides, forecasted gales warnings for later this week, high sea conditions and swollen rivers may result in very dangerous conditions.”

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