Repair and clean-up underway in East Inishowen after flooding

Almost five years after flooding devastated Inishowen, another major clean-up and repair operation is underway following an ‘intense rainfall event’ on Saturday that created significant damage from Muff to Greencastle.

Homes, businesses and infrastructure in Inishowen, Derry and Strabane were severely damaged after almost a month’s rain fell in a matter of hours.

The Department for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland confirmed to the ‘Journal’ that 70mm of rain fell in just five hours, just short of the average monthly rainfall for the locality. Donegal County Council said the most significant damage caused to road infrastructure was a parapet wall that collapsed on a bridge on the R238 Regional Road at Redcastle between Quigley’s Point and Moville. A spokesperson confirmed that traffic lights are in place at this location, restricting traffic to one lane and this will remain in place whilst the damage is assessed and the repairs are designed and implemented. A short section of the coastal walk between Greencastle and Moville has also been washed away and the public are asked to avoid using the path in this area as repair works take place.

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A number of local roads in the area have also been damaged and temporary traffic management has been put in place, where relevant, in advance of repairs ‘being carried out on a priority basis’. Debris was also washed onto the public road in a number of locations. Donegal County Council have commenced a programme of repairs to address the damage caused. In Derry, 40 homes flooded and people had to be evacuated.

A section of the Moville Shore Walk damaged by floods.

Staff from Donegal County Council responded to the incident on Saturday evening, as did staff from the various emergency services.

Staff from the Roads Service continued with the assessment and clean-up operation on Sunday.

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Moville County Councillor Martin Farren said the last few days have been ‘very difficult’ for everyone.

He was due to attend a roads workshop yesterday in Carndonagh, at which, he said, the issue would be widely discussed.

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The damaged wall at Redcastle.

“We need to put a plan in place and confirm what needs to be done. There has been a significant amount of damage and that is going to cost a considerable amount of money to repair it.”

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The Labour Councillor pointed out how, much like the flooding in 2017, this event was also without warning and ‘everyone was caught on the hop’.

“It started off at around 6.30pm and continued to rain until after 10 that night - that is a considerable amount of water. The roads section of Donegal County Council and the emergency services, including the fire service, coast guard and Gardai were out to the early hours of the morning. I wish to acknowledge and highlight the quick response from all and couldn’t thank them all enough for the work they did on Saturday night and into Sunday morning.”

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Colr Albert Doherty has called upon the government to provide emergency funding to the council for repairs and said an audit of Inishowen’s infrastructure must be carried out.

The Sinn Councillor said: “There is significant road damage, debris, and farmers are unable to get to their cattle as lanes have been washed away. We need emergency funding to deal with what has happened. In 2017, we were told what had happened was a ‘one -off, a one in 100 years event.’ Five years later, we have gone through much the same again.

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“One other area of concern is river maintenance and unfortunately a lack of interest in ownership of access to rivers. We need concentrated action to ensure preventative measures can be taken on the ground. The stretching and costing of materials for repair now puts in jeopardy our road plans for 2022 and we now need additional funding. I have asked that there is also an audit of this area done in relation to our bridges and roads and, as a consequence, emergency funding from government.” Colr Farren urged anyone impacted by the floods to contact the Department of Social Protection, as funding is being made available, on 0818 607080.