FLOODED and cracked roads, overflowing rivers, and burst pipes have wreaked havoc across Tipperary this week, with householders left stranded or having to take long detours to work to avoid potholes opened up by the unseasonal poor weather.
Heavy rain and thunder and lightning over the weekend caused flash flooding in rural areas, and waterlogged many county roads and boithríns. The M8 Motorway near Cashel was closed for a time to one lane of traffic on Monday morning due to flooding.
Regional and Secondary Roads in and around Mellison, Glengoole, The Reen, Lickfinn, Killenaule, Ballingarry, Drangan, and Ballysloe, have been reported as nearly impassable or flooded. Four roads have been completely closed to traffic: at Mellison, Coalbrook/Ballysloe, Ballynonty/Delaney’s Cross, and The Reen to Glengoole. Some local people have reported “craters” appearing in the road near the Reen, several feet deep.
It’s understood one elderly lady was left stranded in her own home in the Ballysloe Glengoole area surrounded by water. South Tipperary County Cllr John Fahey says he has been inundated by members of the public with complaints since Monday.
“It’s absolutely desperate,” Cllr Fahey told the Tipperary Star. “I’ll never forget it. I visited a number of houses that were flooded, with roads destroyed. People were terrified.” A river near Killenaule overflowed causing major damage to local houses. Perry’s shop in Ballinonty had to close for a time to carry out repairs, though that shop is now open for business again. The Reen, Mellison, and Ballysloe are particularly affected. However, both North and South Tipperary County Councils will struggle to find funds to carry out repairs, added Cllr Fahey. “Money will have to be found because people have to go work. We can’t leave people isolated.”
Overworked Council staff have delivered sandbags to the worst areas, and are assessing the damage. A bridge at Mardyke between Ballinonty and Ballingarry has been weakened by the rain, and may have to be completely replaced. Cllr Fahey said some householders he spoke to are very angry. “Water came up into toilets, sinks, and showers. Timber floors and carpets have been destroyed. It’s shocking.” Hundreds of thousands of euro worth of damage has been caused at a time of the year when householders expect to save money.
Senior Council Engineer Peter Britton said the Council is hard pressed financially, and some of the roads will take days or weeks to repair. The whole County has been affected, from Cappawhite, Fethard, Moyglass, Poulmucka, to the Templemore/Roscrea road. “We’ve had people out over the weekend, in various parts of the County. We have put on extra resources, but all the repairs cost money. Our main objective would be to get roads open again for everybody.”
Council staff have also been assisting with flooded properties, said Mr Britton. “There was flooding in Killenaule, and in the valley in Fethard. Right across the County we’ve been dealing with it since Monday. We’re very stretched at the moment.” Mr Britton said the Council keeps some funding aside for emergencies but this fund is “dwindling rapidly.” The Council has no power over how for how much money central government allocates to road repairs for the County, added Mr Britton. Meanwhile, a weather warning has been issued by Met Eireann for this week. High winds are expected to match those of Hurricane Charlie in 1986. Up to 50mm of rain is predicted for parts of Munster.