23 May 2022

Flooding in Laois towns and Mountmellick is on high alert

Community ask Laois County Council for update on situation

flooding mountmellick

River Owenass rapidly rising at playground in Mountmellick . Pic Diarmuid O'Connor

Laois Fire and Rescue Services is dealing with flooding incidents across the county and there are growing fears that the River Owenass is about to flood Mountmellick again for the second time in two months.

Crews from Abbeyleix, Rathdowney, Mountrath, Portlaoise, Portarlington have been called out to deal with flooding incidents today, Sunday, January 21. Laois Fire and Rescue service confirmed that crews have attended flooding in Portlaoise, Mountrath, Abbeyleix, Rathdowney.

A crew is also understood to dispatched to the Irishtown on the Portlaoise side of Mountmellick where the River Owenass has risen at dangerously high levels. 

People in Mountmellick people have been urged to avail of sandbags as fears rise that flooding is set to hit the Laois town after a weekend of heavy rain has swelled the River that burst its banks in November devastating many homes and businesses.

Laois TD and Minister Charlie Flanagan urged householders to be on alert and check their premises for signs of flooding. He urged people to avail of sandbags which are understood to be available beside Connor Davis Park on the Bay Road.

The Mountmellick Flood Community Support group appealed to Laois County Council in a post on its facebook page to update the public on the situation.

"Laois County Council we invite you to use our page, which has a large community following, to communicate with the people of Mountmellick regarding your emergency response to flooding and the details of work currently being undertaken to avoid major damage in the future.

"Our page is inundated with questions we cannot answer. Panic is a natural reaction when people don’t know where they stand," said the post.

Council management and officials from the Office of Public Works met just last week in Mountmellick to asses flood risks in the wake of November's floods. The council and the OPW refused to comment on what was discussed at the meeting. No public representative or member of the public attended the meeting.

The council says it will update local politicians at their council meeting at the end of January. 

Met Éireann did not have weather warning in place for rain but there was a Status Yellow warning for snow and ice in Ulster.

There may also be some concern in Portarlington as parts of the town are downstream of Mountmellick on the River Barrow. 

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