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Locals in Midleton travelling down a road in a small boat.
storm babet

Army deployed to Midleton after Cork town becomes 'impassable' and over 100 properties flooded

Waterford City and County Council has said many roads in west Waterford are also experiencing significant flooding.

LAST UPDATE | 18 Oct 2023

MEMBERS OF THE Defence Forces have been deployed to Midleton in Co Cork as extreme flooding following Storm Babet has made the town “impassable” today.

Cork County Council this evening confirmed that over 100 properties in Midleton have been flooded. The Army and Civil Defence are currently on site.

Minister Heather Humphries this evening confirmed that the Humanitarian Assistance fund will be made available to those affected by flooding in Cork and Waterford.

A Status Orange Rain warning was in place for Cork and Kerry until 1pm this afternoon. A Status Yellow rain warning continues to be in place across the country.

Waterford was under a Status Orange warning until 4pm with another Status Orange warnings in place for Wexford and Wicklow from 2pm until 8pm. 

Kneehigh water and nurseries

Firefighters and council workers have been wading through knee high water in the town in an effort to ensure that everyone is safe. 

The County Council has requested that people avoid entering Midleton or travelling through it. 

The Mayor, Councillor Frank O’Flynn, said that a months’ worth of rain has fallen in 24 hours. 

“It is evidence, if any were needed, of our changing climate and the challenges it presents,” he said. 

He added that areas in County Cork where flood defence schemes have been completed have fared better than others. 

Labour TD for Cork East Seán Sherlock said on X, formerly Twitter, this evening that he was “very sorry” to hear about the flooding in Midleton and east Cork.

“My office remains open to coordinate in any way or to assist people in any way,” he said.

“I’m just really sorry for people who have been affected by this,” Sherlock said.

He added that he and his team will do anything they can, from their office, to assist locals at this time.

Councillor Danielle Twomey, who is local to the town, said that Midleton hospital flooded and has been evacuated. 

“I have been keeping touch with people trying to get out of homes and working with emergency services, first responders and volunteers to get to people who are still waiting for rescue,” Twomey said. 

“The waters are subsiding now and tomorrow will be a sad day when we can see the destruction caused,” she said. 

“Our council staff and fire services were absolute heroes today. They were everywhere they could working tirelessly. Having been in the midst of it I can tell you they worked tirelessly doing what they could,” she said. 

Earlier, Twomey said “a lot of people are upset and struggling”. 

She said toddlers are stuck in a local preschool, and put a call out for sandbags to be brought there to help out staff. Earlier today, she was travelling back and forth from a preschool helping children get home. 

“I am on my third change of clothes, and people are still trapped in their houses,” she wrote online earlier today. 

Locals have voiced their fears about elderly residents people trapped in their homes due to flooding. 

Elderly residents in Suncourt have been advised to stay upstairs until the Defence Forces arrive. The bottom floor of their homes are flooded. 

Defence Forces deployment

A spokesperson for the Defence Forces said that personnel have been deployed to Midleton in response to a request from the local authority.

“The extent of the DF response will be based on continued requests from relevant Local Authorities.

“DF Transport and Engineer assets can assist with transporting people from affected areas,” they said.

Photos from Midleton have shown people travelling along a main town street, which was today underwater, in a small boat.

TD James O’Connor has welcomed the deployment, as he said that very substantial damage has been done to the town following the storm, and that more emergency service help is needed.

“I’m deeply concerned by the very significant damage caused by heavy rainfall in parts of Cork. I welcome the decision by the Defence Forces to provide emergency support after a request from Cork County Council due to severe flooding on Wednesday.

“Many roads in Midleton, Killeagh, Youghal and the surrounding areas are impassable due to the severe flood waters. It has badly affected many homes, businesses and community buildings and facilities.

“Very substantial damage has been done and I am calling for further emergency support from the Government to support the areas affected,” he said.

A spokesperson for the gardaí said that they are aware that Midleton has become “impassable” due to flooding.

“Please avoid the town if possible and use an alternative route,” they said.

Humanitarian assistance

A number of local representatives and politicians, including Labour’s Seán Sherlock and Cork South-West Senator Tim Lombard, had previously called for the Humanitarian Assistance fund to be put in place for those impacted.

Minister for Social Protection Humphries said: “I’m very conscious that Storm Babet is causing severe flooding and disruption, particularly in the Midleton area of Cork.

“Other parts of the county and indeed country may also be affected until the storm passes. My Department is liaising on the ground with the people affected to make sure they have access to the help that they need.”

Humphries opened the fund to those impacted and advised any homeowner affected by the storm to contact the Community Welfare Service by phoning 0818 60 70 80.

The department adopts a three-stage approach as follows, when dealing with emergency events. Stage one provides emergency income support payments in the immediate aftermath of the event.

Stage two replaces white goods, basic furniture items and other essential household items. The final stage identifies what longer term financial support is required, including plastering, dry-lining, relaying of floors, electrical re-wiring and painting.

The Humanitarian Assistance Fund for flooding was used previously in Cork in 2020 after Storm Francis.

 The damage to roads and infrastructure in Cork from that storm was €6 million, according to Fine Gael Senator for Cork South West Tim Lombard.

“It is estimated that the cost of Storm Babet will greatly exceed this,” he said this evening.

“The road network across the county has been impacted with rolling road closures.  The N71 is closed at Rosscarbery with diversions through the town,” the council said this evening.

“The N71 is also closed at Innishannon with reports of spot flooding at the Halfway roundabout. Traffic will be diverted via Crossbarry. The R610 in Carrigaline is virtually impassable.”

The council has told locals to only travel if necessary and to exercise extreme caution when doing so. 


Waterford City and County Council has said many roads in west Waterford are experiencing significant flooding, with flooding reported on N25 and N72. 

Lismore, Tallow, Clashmore, Aglish, Ballyduff Upper and the adjoining hinterlands are experiencing continuing heavy rainfall, the council said. 

The council warned that this is expected to lead to significant volumes of surface water run-off, coinciding with high tide on the River Blackwater at around 8pm this evening. 

Waterford City and County Council ground crews and Waterford Fire Service are at multiple sites dealing with flooding issues. 

The Humanitarian Assistance fund was also extended to those impacted in county Waterford this evening.

The council said it “advises extreme caution, avoid all unnecessary journeys, avoid the areas if possible and if travelling please use an alternative route and allow extra time for journey as driving conditions are expected to deteriorate throughout the course of the day”. 

Members of the public can contact Waterford City and County Council’s customer service desks on 0818 10 20 20 during normal office hours, after which calls will be transferred to the council’s emergency services number. 

Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe today said that there is funding available to support businesses and homes affected by flooding. 

“I have no doubt that whatever support is needed for people who have been affected by flooding will be made available by local authorities or directly from Government,” he said. 

Storm Babet is the second named storm this season, and is also affecting the UK.

With reporting by Hayley Halpin, Mairead Maguire and Muiris O’Cearbhaill

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