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Damage in Wexford to be assessed after 40mm of rain in hour on Monday

Vivienne Clarke

The emergency management team of Wexford County Council will meet this morning to assess the damage caused by a cloud burst in New Ross on Monday which saw 40mm of rainfall in one hour.

The council’s director of services, Eamon Hoare, told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that social and humanitarian assistance will be provided to businesses and homeowners impacted by the flooding.

Work continued overnight pumping water from business premises on Main Street where basements were flooded. Even homes which were 30-40m above the level of the town’s quays experienced flooding, said Mr Hoare.

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Local business owner Brian Bailey, who operates a craft gallery and picture framing workshop told of how “the skies opened” and the flood water “just came down”.

His workshop was in the basement of his premises, when the flood water surged down the street it came in through the grate at street level and "burst" a window to flow into the workshop “like a river”.

In the 100 years this building has been here there has never been flooding like this.

“Everything is destroyed. I’m not the only one, lots of people experienced serious damage. Nobody could stop it, the water had incredible force. In the 100 years this building has been here there has never been flooding like this.

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“There is going to be a lot of cleaning up today. My workshop is destroyed, all the material gone. We will just have to knuckle down to clean up what we can and get a skip. The timber floors in the workshop are destroyed, it will take a long time to clean up.”

Mr Hoare said that the council will provide skips to assist in the clean up. “I saw the devastation. It is heartbreaking for people.”

The full extent of the damage has yet to be determined, he added. So far 38 businesses and 30 homes are flooded, but some people were away and might not yet be aware of damage.

“It was incredible, the rain. It was 40mm in an hour. We’ve never seen the likes before. You don’t see hailstones in August, they were half the size of golf balls and punched holes in perspex.”

Five units of fire brigades from the surrounding areas assisted at the scene and all roads in New Ross this morning are passable “with care”, he said. People are determined to get back to work and into their homes.

When asked if any preparation could have been done since there was a storm warning, Mr Hoare said that 40mm of rainfall in one hour could not have been anticipated. No water pipes could cope with that. Remedial works on the River Barrow in 2016 had helped somewhat.

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