We got 'no warning' of flooding, say residents of Limerick estate

Limerick City and County Council has blamed "technical difficulties" at the Park Locke gates for last night's flooding in the Richmond Park area.

Families in the estate say they got "no warning" of a flood risk at their homes last night.

Minister for Education Jan O'Sullivan, who lives in the Corbally area, said: "What we are hearing is that the man who had the key was on holidays in Spain. Whether that's true or not I don't know. "

It has been claimed that a set of locked gates on the Canal Bank, which is located behind the estate - which had been holding a swell of water - was not opened until late last night after it had reached capacity.

Dozens of rugby fans who travelled to Thomond Park last night to see Munster v Leicester Tigers, and who had parked their cars at Richmond Park in Corbally, returned to the area following the match to see their vehicles submerged in floodwater.

"Approximately 14 houses at Richmond Park, Corbally, were flooded last night as a result of the Park Canal overtopping its banks," a statement from Limerick City and County Council read.

"This surge of flood water was as a result of an exceptionally high flood in the Shannon and Mulkear rivers yesterday evening.

"Limerick City and County Council and Waterways Ireland responded to the problem on the canal and were successful in releasing the water on the canal after resolving some technical difficulties with the Park Locke gates.

"Council staff, the Fire Service, Army and Civil Defence have worked throughout the night to deal with the flooding and pumping is still on-going at this stage.

"As a result there are some road closures in this area."

The O'Donnell family, of Richmond Park, are mourning the loss of their beloved chihuahua dog Princess, who drowned when the floodwater came through their front sitting room last night.

"My wife took her in out of the back and put her in the house thinking she'd be safe," said Anthony O'Donnell.

"The water came in so fast the dog got a fright and jumped off the chair and drowned inside there. My son in law found the dog inside by the television."

"We're very sad."

"The hurting part about it is that it needed to have happened."

Minister O'Sullivan walked the estate today to survey the damage to people's homes.

"I'm told that a person who walks their dog (on the canal) told the Council that the water was rising (last night) and that they needed to open the gates," she said.

"The gate was opened earlier in the week, but that it was closed again because they were concerned that the tide would go back up the canal.

"Then when the water started coming down (last night), what I'm told is that they weren't able to open the gates and that it took several hours before they actually got them open, and by that time these people were devastated by the floods.

"There are different stories. One (story) is that there was a problem finding a key. The other one is that there was just too much weight of water coming down (the canal) and that they couldn't open them.

"What we are hearing is that the man who had the key was on holidays in Spain. Whether that's true or not I don't know.

"One of my neighbours went to the council two or three times and they told her they were looking into it."

One resident in Richmond Park claimed that in act of sheer desperation her neighbours took sandbags from outside her house last night as the estate was overwhelmed by the floodwaters.

Read: Hoax 999 calls and stolen sandbags reported in flood-hit Limerick

Limerick City and county and parts of Clare are braced for what is expected to be the worst flooding in recent days.

It said the situation will be reviewed again on Monday.

"The ESB sub-station has shut down and the area is without electricity for some time," the statement from Limerick City and County Council added.

"Limerick City and County Council has received confirmation from the ESB of its decision to increase discharge at Parteen Weir by 35m3/Sec to 440m3/sec.

"This level of water flow is likely to lead to increased flooding of roads, land and property in the vicinity of the Shannon downstream of Parteen Weir including the areas of Springfield, Montpelier, Castleconnell, Mountshannon, Lisnagry and the University of Limerick.

"Sections of the Mountshannon Road, Mulcair Drive, Dalys Cross to Mountpelier Road, Chapel Hill Road and other local roads in the Castleconnel, Lisnagry and Annacotty area remain flooded.

"Council staff, assisted by members of the Defence Forces, are continuing to implement flood defence measures along the river bank and coordinate with local property owners at Montpelier, Castleconnell and the Mountshannon Road (Lisnagry).

"Meanwhile, the Council is advising members of the public, particularly children, to avoid all flooded areas and to abide by the instructions provided by the Emergency Services and Council staff."


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