THE people of Mountmellick, Portarlington and surrounding areas are still cleaning up and counting the cost of the devastation caused to their homes by flood waters last week.
Events unfolded on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning following very heavy rainfall in the area around the Slieve Blooms.
The first signs of flooding occurred when the Clodiagh river in Clonaslee burst its banks and cascaded through a damaged wall, threatening nearby houses and the local church.
The banks of the Barrow, Owenass and Blackwater rivers that run through Mountmellick were next to take the deluge coming down the mountain until they finally burst their banks with water flooding down streets and washing into homes, destroying all in its path.
The council’s emergency plan was quickly put in place with fire crews, civil defence, gardaí and eventually the army being called up to help residents who were left stranded in the Mountmellick and Ballyfin areas. Thirty-five families from Mountmellick were housed in hotels in Portlaoise because of flood damage to their homes.
Schools were closed and the contents of businesses and homes were destroyed by sewage and foul water which entered their premises. Emergency state funding was offered to those whose homes and businesses were affected by the flooding.
On Thursday, the River Barrow River burst its banks in Portarlington, with many roads impassible.
So severe was the flooding that the President Michael D Higgins expressed his deepest concern and sympathy to everyone affected by the flooding, particularly the people of Mountmellick.