The government has pledged to bail out residents, homeowners and businesses in the southeastern part of the country affected by flash floods on Christmas Day.
Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien’s pledge comes as a town in Co Wexford suffered the worst flooding in 62 years as torrential rains hit the area.
A multi-agency response kicked into action in Bridgetown, County Wexford, when it was overwhelmed as heavy rains hit the area early in the morning. A large part of the 462 inhabitants was affected.
People in nine houses had to be rescued by emergency services, including the Sikorsky Irish Coast Guard Air and Sea Rescue 117 helicopter based at Waterford Airport, the Fethard-on- Coast Guard unit. sea, Kilmore Quay Coast Guard, Rosslare Coast Guard, Wexford Gardai, Wexford Fire Department and HSE.
Two victims required assistance at two separate locations from Rescue 117 forward paramedics, but no serious injuries were reported.
The rescue was coordinated by the Dublin Maritime Rescue Coordination Center, which said Wexford was “inundated” by the floods.
Local Civil Protection teams have set up in a local community center.
A spokesperson for Irish Lifeboats said: âOur teams are just seated for Christmas dinner having been tasked at 11:30 am to respond to a report of severe flooding in Bridgetown.
âWe have assisted a number of people in flooded homes and cars, and assisted our colleagues at Rescue 117 with a number of medical incidents. Horrible conditions for the inhabitants with numerous floods.
âA long day with many people assisted. Well done to all the teams there.
Minister O’Brien tweeted: âVery serious flooding in Wexford today and it continues to rain. Be very careful there. Don’t drive through the floods. Wexford County Council teams are providing assistance to affected residents, homeowners and businesses. The government will provide all the necessary assistance.
A road along Chapel Station in Adamstown was washed out completely while Hodgesemill Road in Piercestown was impassable for most of the day.
Alan O’Reilly of Carlow Weather explained that a weather station at Mulrankin in Wexford recorded 91.4mm of rain on Christmas Day. “It’s over a month of rain in 16 hours with terrible flooding.”
Up to 73mm of rain was recorded at a weather station in Bunclody, Co Wexford. The N80 was closed between Ballickmoyler and Graiguecullen for some time while the Portlaoise, Old Derrig, Cutts and Joe’s roads were also flooded.
Fianna FÃ¡il TD James Brown urged the public to be careful when traveling and to âavoid travel whenever possible. âThe council, firefighters, Gardai and paramedics were all doing their best on Christmas Day to deal with the flooding. The sandbags were deployed as quickly as possible.
Parts of the town of Enniscorthy also became impassable. The Fianna FÃ¡il adviser in Enniscorthy explained that a number of roads remain impassable in places.
âWexford County Council teams, Enniscorthy and Gardai firefighters were on hand throughout Christmas Day, deploying sandbags to the worst affected areas. The Council was inundated with phone calls from people.
Wexford County Council has sent warnings on social media platforms warning of flooded roads many of which have become impassable in Castlebridge, Carcur in the town of Wexford, Carleys Bridge in Enniscorthy and ‘dozens of other places including flooding on the N25 at Barntown.
According to Wicklow County Council, the M11 at junctions 23/24 has been closed in both directions due to flooding with detours in place for several hours.
Significant flooding has also been reported in parts of the city and county of Carlow, with the R448 to Royal Oak severely affected. Knock Lane in Ballymurphy was closed all Christmas Day due to heavy flooding.
Traffic was reduced to one lane at Church Hill in Hacketstown, County Carlow, following a collapsed shoulder, according to the County Carlow Fire and Rescue Services.
Meanwhile, just before 11 a.m. on Christmas Day, Bangor RNLI was tasked by the Belfast Coast Guard and Air Ambulance Northern Ireland to assist two struggling swimmers at Helen’s Bay.
When the RNLI volunteer team arrived at the scene, there was still a swimmer in the water and two of our crew jumped to rescue the victim.
The conditions were very bad, so we would ask all ocean swimmers to assess the conditions before entering the water.
An RNLI spokesperson said: âThe victims in this case were only about 15 meters from the beach, but against a strong offshore wind they quickly got tired.
âOur thanks to our team John Bell, Ewan Rathbone-Scott, Gavin Mitchell and Johnny Gedge, who provided exceptional care under very difficult circumstances. Without their commitment and training, two local families would face a very different Christmas.
âIf you plan to swim during Christmas and New Years periods, be extra careful. “