FLOODING WREAKS HAVOC
Fermoy was one of the many areas throughout the country to be hit by serious flooding on Thursday night of last week as the river Blackwater burst its banks with a force not expected by the emergency services, residents or business owners. Gardai had blocked off roads in the late afternoon and the rising water engulfed street after street in the flood prone areas by midnight.
People awoke on Friday morning to find the flood water in their homes or edging ever closer to the doorstep. Distraught business owners in the affected areas were forced to leave their closed shops to the mercy of the water.
Some had never seen such severe flooding; others compared it with the flood of 1998.
VENIECE OR FERMOY?
Walking through some of the flooded streets of the town it wasn’t hard to wonder whether you were in Venice, or, in fact, in Fermoy?
It was an eerie feeling on Friday morning with entire areas submerged in flood water. Brian Boru Square was badly hit, with most businesses under at least three foot of water. The town park was almost a mirage, with trees and hedges reflected in the water.
Rathealy Road was flooded as was O’Neill Crowley Quay while Ashe Quay and the side street there were also engulfed. The Fermoy Fire Brigade, which were called in on Friday afternoon to pump water out of business premises in Brian Boru Square, also had their work cut out on Rathealy Road, where three houses were flooded by two to three feet of water.
The brigade were on site until 11pm that night and, on Saturday morning, hosed down mud that had accumulated at a number of areas in the town.
In some ways Friday morning had almost a holiday feel to it in Fermoy, like a bright spring day. The emergency personnel at various strategic points in town brought people right back to reality.
As members of the gardai directed traffic, the army ferried people from one end of Brian Boru Square to the other, and the OPW workers took measurements of the water levels. Many householders were engaged in the heartbreaking task of mopping up the water in their homes and drying carpets or other personal belongings.
The bridge, normally laden with vehicles was eerily quiet with no passing traffic apart from mothers pushing their buggies on the footpaths or even in the middle of the road. Traffic was accommodated by the bypass, as the bridge was impassable.
Curious bystanders gathered everywhere, enjoying the sunshine that followed the unrelenting storm.
People went about their business, helped each other and tried to rescue what they could. The community spirit prevailed once again in the face of adversity. The force of water had taken its toll but a fighting spirit still lived on in the town on the banks of the Blackwater.
With the flood relief work currently underway, many will hope that this flood will be the last, and that all this heartache will become just a distant memory.
Commenting on the latest flooding in Fermoy, a garda spokesperson said, “The emergency response went very well. Ashe Quay was closed off as well as Mill St and part of O’Neill Crowley Quay. The bridge was closed as well and detours were in place. All agencies involved worked very well together.”
“We didn’t receive the official flood warning until around 6pm on Thursday evening, when, in a meeting with Cork County Council, it was decided to put an emergency plan of action in place.” Gardai confirmed that they were in talks with Cork County Council during the day on Thursday about the possibility of a flood, but that you couldn’t predict if it was really going to happen or, if it did, the extent of it.
“Generally, if Mallow floods, Fermoy is about six hours behind,” the garda spokesperson concluded.
Friday 27th November 8:49am