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Houses that suffered flood damage from the Owenacurra River in October Eamonn Farrell via
Midleton floods

Cork families and businesses mired by 'red tape', as Council shows 'no urgency' on flood relief

Those affected were told that it could be nine years before any flood defense system is put in place.

RESIDENTS IN MIDLETON and East Cork have still not recovered from October’s extreme flooding, which saw homes and businesses decimated.

Many families have not yet been able to move back into their houses and road networks remain in disrepair following Strom Babet.

Both the government and Cork County Council are said to show “no sense of urgency” when it comes to recovery.

Those who have applied for the government aid that was promised are still waiting, Cork’s C103 radio station reports.

A meeting between homeowners, business owners, Cork County Council and engineers, had disappointing results, Mona Stromsoe, one of the meeting’s organisers said. 

Locals have started a petition to initiate more immediate action.

612Midleton Flooding_90691636 A destroyed piano was among items being removed from O’Donovans Pub on Main St Midleton, which was badly affected during the floods Eamonn Farrell Eamonn Farrell

“Some people are still out of their homes … if they had insurance, they’re still negotiating with the [company] about what they’re covered for, and the same with the humanitarian aid grants,” Stromsoe explained.

“For some people, their families are split up and they have to live with other family members,

“Other people that don’t have anywhere to go are living in houses that are unhealthy. They’re still damp. It wasn’t just water. There was also wastewater that went into some of the homes.”

Some sewers in Midleton burst during the storm.

The challenge now, she says, is the “red tape” that comes with getting compensation. Even some of those who have completed the paperwork are still waiting for it to be assessed.

Bouts of heavy rain since the last storm have been cause for “real concern” in east Cork.

“Everytime there’s rain, people are afraid,” said Stromsoe.

The mental health issues around this are astronomical.

“There is no sense of urgency from Council or the government to put anything in place.”

She said that, in the meeting with authorities, those impacted by the flooding were told planning permission for a new flood defence system may not be sought until the third quarter of 2025, and that it could be “at least another nine years” before any such system would be in place.

Stromsoe believes there are “plenty of short term measures” the Council could take in the meantime. 

Engineers have made suggestions, including better maintenance of drains and provision of flood barriers, but these ideas were “sidelined” by authorities.

There are also bridges that could be repaired and embankments that could be reinforced.

‘Lives could’ve been lost’

There is a fear among locals that if drastic action isn’t taken, there will be a repeat of October’s events – this time with tragic consequences.

“We have plenty of stories and evidence of people being pulled out of the water on that day,” Stromsoe said.

“The force of the water was huge … it happened so fast.

“People were pulled out of rushing water. People had to be rescued from their homes.

“If that happened at night, there would guaranteed have been a loss of life.”

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