Confusion over cause of Douglas disaster
Local TDs have called for a full investigation to ascertain the reason for the dramatic flooding in Douglas, while the clean up continues.
A full report is currently being prepared by Cork County Council on what happened there in the early hours of last Thursday morning.
Cork South Central Labour TD Ciarán Lynch told the Cork Independent that there needs to be “a long-term strategy to ensure that this never happens again”. He also said “a full engineering examination is needed, along with a full and thorough investigation by the local authority”.
He hopes that Cork County Council would “speedily make the application to government for further works”. Householders in Douglas need to be assured.
He said that he worries that business and homeowners in Douglas may find it impossible to get flood insurance in the future if an assessment and remedial works are not carried out.
“There are serious questions about the long-term viability of those businesses if they cannot get flood insurance,” he added.
Fianna Fáil TD Michael McGrath said: “Important questions need to be answered about the €300,000 spent last year on the provision of a culvert and trash screen in Douglas village. This culvert was designed to withstand severe weather events but failed at the first hurdle.”
He also said that ensuring the people in Douglas can secure flood insurance is a key issue and will discuss it with the Insurance Federation.
Blocked grill to blame?
It now seems that the culvert in Douglas village may not be to blame for the devastating flash flood that caused hundreds of thousands of euros worth of damage in the area.
A large culvert underneath Douglas Village Shopping Centre had been blamed by locals for the disaster. Now it seems that a grill in Douglas Community Park near the Donnybrook river, designed to stop rubbish entering the culvert became blocked and prevented excess water from flowing into the culvert.
It is now thought that the culvert was almost empty during the height of the flooding early on Friday morning. A number of different small rivers feed into the culvert but most of the water that caused the flash floods were diverted into the shopping centre instead of into the culvert.
Deputy Lynch believes that a “full examination of the capacity of water that the culvert can handle and whether additional debris grill are needed” is vital. He said there are questions over whether the debris grill was too close to the culvert and whether additional grills might be needed.
Only one business in Douglas Village Shopping Centre has re-opened. Pharmacy First Plus is the only business that has re-opened with many businesses utterly devastated in the shopping centre.
Flood waters smashed the doors at the entrance to the centre and ruined almost all of the shops inside.
Many other businesses in Douglas village have been hit hard with Barry’s bar and restaurant, Bully’s restaurant and O’Driscoll’s bar particularly hard hit. Barry’s is not expected to reopen for a number of months and 60 staff have been laid off temporarily. O’Driscoll’s bar reopened on Tuesday however.
Deputy Lynch pointed out that it has been “almost 40 years since serious floods last happened in Douglas but the area has had a lot of development since”.
Iconic chipper KC’s has also been hit hard and been destroyed inside. However popular bar Sober Lane donated the takings of their lunch menu yesterday (Wednesday) to the famed chipper in Douglas, something which was criticised on social media.
Ernest Cantillon of Sober Lane insisted the event is something driven by regulars in the bar, and dismissed any criticism of holding the fund raiser.
“People were saying on Facebook and online we shouldn’t be holding a fund raiser for a chipper,” said Ernest.
“I guarantee you anyone who was critical has never owned their own business or been self-employed. This is my day job and I know the pressures that are there for business owners. KC’s is also one of the legendary establishments in Cork. Themselves, the Golden Fry and Lennoxes are universally known.”
Sober Lane holds two lunchtime fundraisers a month, with the proceeds donated to whomever the regulars in the bar decide on.
“I would think that since we opened we’ve donated over €120,000 to charity. It’s just a different way of raising money. People come in and just order off our lunch menu and we give the profits to the designated charity.”
Douglas Village floods last night