Clonmel saved worse damage by flood def ence scheme

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Were it not for the flood defence scheme, Clonmel would have been submerged in two or three foot of water, Cllr. Pat English told a County Council meeting on Monday.

He said the €40m invested in the flood relief scheme was money well spent and prevented up to three hundred premises from being flooded.

Water levels reached a height of four metres on Wednesday, December 30, the highest on record with the OPW. The previous highest level was 3.76m in 2004.

He praised the co-ordination of the emergency plan in Clonmel and paid tribute to the officials, outdoor staff, all the agencies involved and the voluntary sector.

The need for backup pumps in the town was highlighted and flooding at Kilheffernan, Dovehill and Bulmers which resulted in restrictions on traffic on the N24 highlighed the need for works to be carried out at those locations to prevent the carriageway from being closed off.

“More council outdoor staff are badly need, not only during floods but to carry out maintenance work throughout the year,” he said.

The floods highlighted the need for more council staff on the ground, Cllr. Martin Lonergan told council officials during the three hour debate on the floods.

More outdoor staff had to be recruited, insisted Cllr.Lonergan.

He also raised issues such as the weakness of the communication system and helpline in place,why the crisis management team for the lower catchment area of the Suir did not meet until January 2 given the severe weather c onditions that had prevailed up to then.

Cllr.Michael Fitzgerald said lessons had to be learned from the flooding.

“We have to be wiser after this. Hopefully we can learn from our mistakes and local knowledge” said the former chairman.