Bundoran lifeboat staton damaged

Just hours after the annual Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat dinner dance ended on Friday night, a combination of high tide and heavy swell caused damage to Bundoran Lifeboat Station.

Crew began to arrive at the lifeboat station at around 7.20am and discovered the damage as the seas had broken down the main front door as well as the bottom panel in the large doors, behind which the lifeboat is kept.

This RNLI video taken from the RNLI Station shows he waves hitting.

Ahead of high tide again on Saturday evening, as a precautionary measure the lifeboat was moved to higher ground but remained on service throughout the period.

Lifeboat Operations Manager for Bundoran RNLI Tony McGowan said ‘despite the force of the sea, we only suffered a small amount of damage and we are happy to note that the lifeboat itself wasn’t damaged and remained available for service.  It was an early start following the dinner dance on Friday night and we would like to thank all of those who turned out on the morning.  I would also like to point out, having viewed CCTV of the time of the impact, it was remarkable how one big surge which was at least two metres higher than the rest caused the damage.  It is easy to see how people can be caught out in such conditions and I would urge people to keep well away from the water in such circumstances.’

RNLI  Bundoran Low res

Image Courtesy: Shane Smyth, RNLI Bundoran

Limerick’s multi-agency Flood Response

A multi-agency task force has been operating since early Friday morning throughout this Major Flood emergency. Limerick City and County Council, Gardai, Limerick Fire Service, the Civil Defence, Defence Forces, Limerick Marine Rescue and the Red Cross have all been involved in the operation.

Up to 2000 people living in over 300 houses on an area of 200 acres in the St. Marys Park Assumpta Park, Lee Estate and Little Island area of Limerick, have been worst affected.

The emergency began early on Friday morning and quickly turned into something which has never been encountered in Limerick on this scale before.

A response to a flooding emergency on this scale doesn’t just happen, it as a result of tried and tested training, exercises, table top discussions and crisis management meetings.  While each emergency and voluntary service involved in these situations have their own specific role to play, each service is as valuable as the next, and they all work together efficiently. The lead agency in this case is the Local Authority.

Crisis Management meetings are held regularly from early morning to late at night. The media is kept up-to-date and the public informed of on going efforts and situations.

Voluntary services such as the Civil Defence, Limerick Marine Rescue and the Irish Red Cross have played a crucial role in this emergency response. The Civil Defence which is attached to the Local Authority and the Department of Defence are trained volunteers who are equipped and prepared in dealing with many aspects of a crisis which can assist both the Local Authority and the community.

As flood waters subsided, the clean-up began and the pumping of water continued, fire-fighters and Council workers concentrated their efforts on the estates within Little Island, which was worst affected. While many people were taken from their homes on Friday and Saturday by rescue services, many others returned on Sunday to assess the damage caused.  Some people have lost their homes and their cars.

The Head of the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management Sean Hogan arrived in Limerick on Sunday afternoon to assess the damage caused. He was met by members of the Crisis Management team and briefed on the situation by the Controller of Operations and the Incident Commander.

Although warnings were issued about the high tide and the storms, early action by all services couldn’t possibly have reached everyone at once, and with almost 2,000 people in over 300 houses affected by the floods, some residents were not happy with the response and called for swift action to prevent a repeat of the flooding,……..while other residents praised the efforts of those involved in the crisis.

Speaking in Little Island on Sunday, Sean Hogan said his role on the day was to ascertain the response of the services and report back to government.

As the clean-up continues, Limerick City and County Council are still on high alert as a number of high tides and stormy conditions are forecast in the coming days.

Some Clips: Courtesy Sean Curtain
Main image: Courtesy Sean Curtain

Kildare Civil Defence locate body of missing man

In what has been regarded a very busy week for the Civil Defence in many parts of Ireland, Kildare Civil Defence began a weekend of search, rescues and recovery with the discovery on Friday 31st January of the body of a 45 year old man reported missing on January 7th.

While Emergencytimes.ie was made aware of the recovery on Friday morning last, Gardai had not yet released any details relating to the case.

Gardai alerted the Civil Defence on Sunday 12th January to assist in the search of the 45 year old man on the river barrow and canal in the Monasterevin area of south Kildare.

Kildare Civil Defece Boat Crew

Gardai say that planned searches took place on the River Barrow on Friday last by Gardai from Monasterevin and Kildare Town, and supported by Kildare Civil Defence. Mr. O’Mahoney’s remains were recovered at Grangecoore, Kildangan. Kildare’s Civil Defence Officer Patricia McNeela told Emergency Times that while nothing was found in the initial search and another search was organised.

CDO McNeela said ‘Two boats were tasked and covered the areas required but nothing was found.  Another search was organised for Friday 31st January 2014 where the two boats and crew were tasked to search the River Barrow again in Monasterevin. The boats launched at 10am and shortly before midday they located a body in the River. Gardai were notified and attended and the boat teams removed the body from the river.  Kildare Civil Defence were stood down at 2pm’.

Kildare Gardai praised the people involved in the search. A spokesperson for Kildare station said ‘We would like to thank the scores of volunteers who gave of their time to take part in the search operation, and in particular, the Kildare Civil Defence, for their valuable assistance’.

Pic: Courtesy Kildare Civil Defence

Carlow River Search: Body recovered

The search for a 19 year old man who fell into the river barrow in Co. Carlow last night has been called off following the discovery of a man’s body. Garda divers located the body of a young man at Millford Bridge, outside Carlow town at around 10am this morning. The Garda Diving Unit, two boat crews from Carlow Civil Defence and Carlow Fire Service resumed their search earlier this morning.


The family and close friends of the missing man were at the scene when Garda divers recovered the body from the water. A local priest and a doctor have also attended the scene.  The man’s body was taken into an emergency tent provided by Carlow Fire Service.


Separately, another search is continuing along the river barrow for a 50 year old woman who went missing on Friday night. Civil Defence crews from Carlow and Kilkenny are assisting the search.


Emergency & Voluntary services on flood operations

Fire Brigade, Civil Defence and Local Authority services in many parts of the country are continuing to assist locals and communities in flood stricken areas. As storm-force winds and high tides create treacherous conditions this weekend, particularly along the Atlantic coast, with severe flooding and some damage in Cork, Limerick, Clare, Galway and Kerry.

Limerick City and County appears to be worst hit on this occasion as the river Shannon has burst its banks. Local authorities, the HSE and An Garda Síochana are all involved in the response to what has been described as a severe flood emergency in the county.

Flood prevention efforts had been put in place in high-risk areas, but the unprecedented high tide this morning overwhelmed the defences. Emergency services have been working in the county since 6am.

Scores of people have already been recsued from their homes while the county council said the evacyuation of more people and areas is being reviewed “on a continual basis”. A community centre in Killeely is being used to care for people removed from their homes.

Water levels in the worst affected areas remain at a very high level, the local authorities said, and the city will be at risk from flooding at high tide until at least Monday.

The heavy winds caused severe damage to the coastal town of Lahinch in Clare, where parts of the promenade were smashed into pieces.

Hundreds of residents in Clare, Kerry and Galway remain without power as a result of the storm damage.

Met Éireann issued an orange alert weather warning for the day, with winds of up to 130 km/h expected and the public have been warned to take care, particularly along the coast.

Galway County Council has urged the public to avoid the coast at times of high tide, and to avoid parking cars in areas liable to flooding.

An Garda Síochána has warned road users to slow down and take care, tweeting: “High winds with damaging gusts & heavy showers across the road network over the coming hours. Bsafe”.

Search dog donated to Dublin Civil Defence

Dublin Civil Defence has acquired an English Springer Spaniel search dog, which was donated by the Peggy Mangan Foundation. The dog is currently undergoing his search dog training at Fitom Kennels under the guidance of trainer Paul Murphy.

Paul has twenty years experience of specialist dog training for the Police Forces in the United States.

Dublin Civil Defence Officer James McConnell described the search dog, Max, as a national resource to the Civil Defence and said ‘the organisation appreciated very much the donation by the Peggy Mangan Foundation, it was a terrific gesture’.

Pic: Civil Defence Press Office

New HSE Ambulance base & crew for North Dublin

A new HSE Ambulance station is to be built at Lissenhall, Swords in North County Dublin, which will include a second full-time ambulance and a crew of eight additional ambulance personnel.  That’s according to local FF senator Darragh O’ Brien.

It is understood the new ambulance crew will relocate from St. James’s Hospital ambulance base to the Lissenhall base. Senator O’ Brien said this is expected to happen in April. “This development comes as follow-on from a campaign to look for a more complete ambulance service for the North County. I met with staff there, who were working a full ambulance service, with limited resources. It means that there will now be two 24 hour ambulances, along with a new base. This is badly needed because of the huge area that needs to be covered.” O’Brien said that a second full time ambulance will also have a beneficial effect on staff at Lissenhall” he concluded.

Pic: Courtesy Brendan Gilligan

Gardai allay fears of station downgrade

Gardai have allayed fears that Skibbereen garda station may be closed or downgraded following a call from the chairman of a Joint Policing Committee (JPC) for a public meeting on the issue.

FF Councillor Donal McCarthy said he was told by a Garda Superintendent there would be changes to the garda station’s opening hours. However, the councillor later realised this might mean lesser opening hours. He said “The JPC committee had concerns that there wasn’t enough gardai on patrol and, when the Superintendent said he was brining out a new rota, we thought it was a good thing because it is, at present, closed for much of the day,’ said Mr McCarthy. ‘It was only later that we realised that this might mean lesser hours or days,’ said Mr McCarthy, who is adamant that Skibbereen needs more garda manpower, particularly at the weekends.

The garda station currently has two sergeants and ten gardai.

Cllr McCarthy said he would be raising the matter at the monthly meeting of Skibbereen Town Council on Thursday 6th February and will ask the Mayor, Adrian Healy, to call a public meeting ‘so the people can have their say.’

Following the confusion however, Superintendent Colm O’Sullivan spoke to ‘The Southern Star’ and clarified the comments made by Cllr McCarthy. He said: ‘The garda station in Skibbereen is not being downgraded. In fact the personnel has increased over the last two years’ – a reference to the fact that two additional guards were appointed to Skibbereen within the last 12 months.

Superintendent O’Sullivan said: ‘It was never suggested that Skibbereen would be downgraded. What was discussed at the Joint Policing Committee was the problem that the station was not open to the public when the public expected it to be open. The proposal is to set fixed opening hours for the garda station in Skibbereen from noon to 5pm every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday; and from 3pm to 8pm every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.”

By setting these hours,’ the superintendent said: ‘it will allow people to know exactly when the station will be open and release the gardai to walk the beat in Skibbereen.’

As for suggestions that the rota had been changed, Superintendent O’Sullivan said this is factually incorrect because a new roster system came in as part of the Croke Park Agreement in 2011, and this remains unchanged.

He said: ‘There is no actually change in the rota of the sergeants or guards in the Skibbereen station: the gardai will, as before, work on three rotating shifts from early morning, throughout the day, and through the night.’

The superintendent said he hoped his statement would clarify the situation for people and assured them that they need not have any concerns about the station being downgraded. In fact, he said he hoped they would welcome the news that the station will now have fixed opening hours.

Pic: Google Maps