Last Thursday seen unprecedented floods all over County Louth but Aston Village got more than its fair share. The ‘dip’ is designed to retain or attenuate storm water in order to flatten out the peak runoff to the stream but something went badly wrong. A month’s rainfall fell in just one day and Councillor Kenneth Flood was caught in the middle of it.
Flood said “The consultant identified a problem with the pipe that is supposed to take the water from this area and feed it into the stream on Thursday Morning. My information was that he was to ask the council for permission to excavate this pipe and fix it. Then the heavens opened and that night seen the stream rise to twelve feet and burst its banks. That meant the only road in and out of the area became impassable.”
Councillor Flood spent the night redirecting traffic, distributing and placing sandbags to try and save houses from being flooded. “Between the Council and the army we managed to get 500 sandbags. We were told the weather was set to worsen through the night so myself and a few others opted to remain out for the night. Eight vehicles were stranded including a paramedics vehicle through the night.
“I want to thank Brian Maher and Gary Swaine for doing the first rescue before the council van and Boyne Fishermen’s Rescue and Recovery came to the estate from other incidents elsewhere. Also I want to thank Louth County Council who helped extract the stranded cars and the residents who worked tirelessly through the night with a special mention to poor Chris Raymond who waded through the flood to reach his car in order to collect more sandbags.”
Councillor Kenneth Flood was still there in the morning when the pupils of AV Educate Together NS started arriving for school. “We blocked the road with cones so no vehicles would attempt to get through and get stranded. We requested parents walk their children to the school and directed traffic along the pathway for those parents who had very small children, one car at a time. Such was the danger from the 8 foot of water in the attenuation area directly adjacent to the footpath, Kevin Butler was wearing a dry suit in case he needed to go into the water to rescue someone. I can’t thank Kevin Butler enough for all of his all of his help all through the night.”
Councillor Flood ended by saying “this whole episode has shown us everything that is good about the community minded citizenry of this country and what a community can achieve when they pull together in times of trouble”.
Sinn Féin County Council Group Leader in Louth Tomás Sharkey has announced that his party will be tabling a motion in opposition to water charges at next Monday’s County Council meeting.
Speaking about the proposal Tomás Sharkey stated:
“There is no doubt that the Irish people do not want domestic water charges. Sinn Féin actively supports and works with the Right2Water campaign which saw more than a hundred thousand people on the streets 2 weeks ago.
“Our motion reflects the demands of the people of County Louth. We believe public money is being wasted with the roll out of metering when investment is needed in infrastructure. We have thought the motion out carefully and hope it receives the support of all groupings in the chamber on Monday morning.”
The full text of the motion is below:
“That Louth County Council calls on the Government to;
– Immediately reverse domestic water charges which are an unfair and unjust double charge being forced on already struggling households.
– Stop the roll out of metering and redirect the €539m loan finance from the National Pension Reserve Fund towards fixing the massive leakage problems and interruption to supply.
– Recognise that Irish Water is not fit for purpose since it is unaccountable to the Minister and therefore to the Oireachtas and the citizens of this State.
– Prevent Irish Water from any further excessive spending of taxpayer’s money, including the proposed further €35m on the use of external consultants in 2015.
– Oppose any duplication of services being delivered by Irish Water and Local authorities and retain these services within full public ownership now and in the future.
– Listen to the widespread public anger that exists towards this Government and Irish Water by the Irish people, who are now rightly organising and mobilising in protest and opposition to these water charges through the Right2Water public campaign which includes activists, citizens, community groups, political parties and trade unions.”
Sinn Féin Councillor Imelda Munster (pictured here at the stretch of road) is calling on Louth County Council to install traffic calming measures in Ballsgrove. Commenting today, Cllr Munster said “we need speed ramps on the stretch of road behind the shops opposite the green and right down to the top of the Grove Hill. Other roads throughout the estate already have them but for some reason, this busy stretch of the estate has been forgot about.”
Councillor Munster explained how “residents have highlighted this issue for some time now. In particular, cars coming from the bottom of the road and as cars pass the shops and health centre, tend to pick up speed. When cars are parked on one side of the road, drivers often have to swerve in to avoid these cars coming at speed.”
The Government have recently announced new plans for speed control and safety measures within residential areas and Cllr Munster “will be asking that these safety measures be included in the road works programme and for ramps to be placed on this stretch of road as a matter of urgency in the interest of road safety for residents and motorists.”
Cllr Green at Ard Dealgan
Sinn Féin Councillor Jennifer Green has expressed her outrage at what she described as ‘a sinister escalation of the anti-social behaviour around the Ard Dealgan apartments.’
The Ard Dealgan apartments are situated in Quay Street, Dundalk and the complex is officially listed as a derelict site. There have been a number of fires, bits of the property being thrown down onto the street and general anti-social behaviour around it since they were completed and immediately declared unfit for habitation.
In the early hours of Friday morning, the adjacent Clarkes Pub was broken into by thieves who jumped from the Ard Dealgan roof onto the pub. Cllr Green said “they lifted the tiles of the roof from Clarkes Pub, climbed into the attic and then smashed through the ceiling to access the top floor of the property. The Pub is also home to the Clarke family and they then tried to break down Mrs Clarke’s bedroom door.”
Jennifer Green has been highlighting this issue for some time now but said “this turn of events has brought the issue to a head. Dundalk Town Council spent €50,000 a couple of years ago securing the building but it was inadequate. The Council are refusing to put any more into it. Our TD and Party President Gerry Adams raised this issue at government level, as the property is supposedly owned by NAMA. The Minister at the time Phil Hogan referred him back to the local authority. Someone has to take ownership here before someone gets badly hurt or worse. This complex needs to be demolished.”
The property was rumoured to have been sold on but no-one can confirm this.
It is believed that up to 50-60 people are using the Ard Dealgan building in one form or another and it is being used as a squat for drug-users to come and go as they please. Cllr Green said “during the summer, they had parties and barbeques on the roof. The situation is farcical. Residents live in fear they are going to be attacked or broken into and now it has happened. They are constantly subjected to verbal abuse but this turn of events is very worrying.”
Some residents in the Newfoundwell / Termonfecken Road areas have been experiencing low water pressure and in some cases, a complete loss of water at varying parts of the day.
Councillor Kenneth Flood said “this has been the case since the latest water mains burst on 5th November.”
Councillor Flood has been in contact with both Irish Water and Louth County Council in an attempt to get the matter resolved. He said “historically the Northern Environs of Drogheda have had lower water pressure than other parts of the town because the water needs to be pumped uphill to reach the thousands of homes there. With an increased demand, the minimum required water pressure may not be reached which results in low pressure.”
As part of their investigation into the problem Irish Water will ensure that any valves that were closed following the last burst, were in fact, opened up again.
Councillor Flood said “due to the complex nature of the investigation, they may not find the root cause of the problem for up to two weeks so some residents may still experience problems with their water supply.”
“I will post updates on my Facebook page as soon as the information comes available and will not rest until this issue is resolved once and for all as we don’t want to experience this again in the future.”