14 Aug 2022

Council facing ‘substantial’ repairs after east Inishowen flooding

Repair costs in ‘mid to high tens of thousands’ after bridge and shore path damaged

Council facing ‘substantial’ repairs after east Inishowen flooding

The heavy rain and flooding caused a short part of the coastal path north of Moville to collapse PICTURE: ENDA CRAIG

Donegal County Council is facing “substantial repairs” to infrastructure in east Inishowen following heavy rainfall and flooding in the Greencastle, Moville and Redcastle areas at the weekend.

Heavy rainfall from around 7pm on Saturday caused a number of localised flooding incidents, the most serious resulting in the collapse of the parapet of a bridge on the R238 road at Redcastle. The heavy rain and flooding also caused a short part of the coastal path north of Moville to collapse.
Met Éireann said Donegal, Tyrone and Derry were hit by localised heavy showers and thunderstorms on Saturday night with provisional data showing weekend rainfall totals at Malin Head of 41.9mm and 28.7mm at Finner Camp.

Fire service

Four fire engines from Buncrana, Moville and Carndonagh responded to multiple reports of flooding.
Donegal Council Council fire service units attended reports of flooding in housing estates in Moville and Greencastle by using pumps and sandbags. Gardaí and members of the Coast Guard in Greencastle also responded to flooding incidents in the area.
The council’s director of emergency services, Garry Martin, said the efforts were “largely successful” with just one property in Greencastle being inundated with “a small amount of water”.
“The extent of the property damage was much less than what would have been experienced across the border in Derry and Strabane,” he said.
The council’s roads service also responded to reports of flooding on roads in the area. The response from the local authority lasted until around 1am on Sunday with the cleanup beginning on Sunday morning.

The parapet on a bridge near Redcastle collapsed during Saturday night's heavy rainfall

Mr Martin said a build-up of water under the bridge at Redcastle caused the parapet of the bridge to collapse.
He said the council can make “a special case” for department funding for the cost of the repairs to the bridge, “which will probably run into the tens of thousands”.
Traffic lights are in place at the bridge restricting traffic to one lane. The council says the traffic restrictions will remain in place while the damage is assessed and repairs are designed and implemented.
Mr Martin said the council is also working on repair plans for damage to some roads in the area.
“Thankfully it [the damage] is not to the extent we have had in the past but there will be substantial repairs to be carried out,” he said.
Overall he said the cost to repair infrastructure in the area will be “in the mid to high tens of thousands when everything is counted up”.
While assistance is available from the Department of Social Protection for households affected by flooding, “there is no huge evidence that it is actually needed," he said.

The heavy rainfall also affected parts of south Donegal and Derry city and Strabane.

Businesses hit

Rosato’s bar and restaurant in Moville had to close on Saturday night after water entered from a road at the rear of the premises.
Owner Eddie Harkin said customers were forced to leave but with the help of staff and the fire service, the damage was contained.
“The fire bridge came and we are very lucky there was no long-term damage. It was the first time in our 18 years here that anything like that happened and hopefully, it was just a freak event.”
Paul McGowan Fitness, a gym in Moville, was also hit by flooding after water came in through a wall at the rear of the premises.

Owner Paul McGowan, who was in Dublin at the time, said a message on the gym’s Facebook page alerted members to the flooding.
“Within an hour around 20 people from the gym came down to brush the water out,” he said. “Thanks to them, we did not have any damage to equipment.”
The business escaped serious damage and reopened on Monday morning.

Moville-based county councillor Martin Farren said households and businesses in the Shroove, Greencastle and Moville areas were affected.

Response praised

He thanked the council staff, fire service, gardaí and Coast Guard for the swift response to the flooding.
The Labour councillor said it was “a horrendous night” for those affected by the heaving rain and flash flooding.
“Hopefully now when the dust settles we can look at things. The bridge at Redcastle is quite bad. The bridge has been surveyed and an awful lot of work will be needed on the bridge.”
He said he would like to see work on the section of shore path close to Moville that has collapsed to begin as soon as possible. He said the path is not passable by prams or wheelchair users. The council has asked the public to avoid using the path in the area affected as repair works take place.
“There is quite a lot of work to be done,” Cllr Farren said. “We need to try to secure funding and get the work done as quickly as possible to try and get things up and running again.
“These things can be fixed up again but the most important thing is no one was injured.”
Muff-based county councillor Terry Crossan paid tribute to the council staff who responded to incidents in the area.
The Sinn Féin councillor said there were concerns about a bridge in the Quigley's Point area on Saturday night and a farmyard in the area was also affected by “a minor landslide”.
He said the bridge has seen a build-up of material under it since the severe flooding of August 2017 and action needs to be taken to prevent a serious incident at it.
“I have been trying to see who is going to take responsibility for that - Donegal County council says it is not their responsibility,” he said.
“Because of the increasing regularity of these events, somebody needs to stand up and take responsibility and sort out the issue of streams and bridges and the build-up of aggregate of trees and branches that block culverts and streams. We have been told in no uncertain terms by the council that this is going to be the norm and we need to put measures in place to mitigate against future events.”

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