Council’s ‘Eleanor’ flooding decisions based on wrong information

Flooding at Flood Street during Storm Eleanor. PHOTO: JOE O'SHAUGHNESSY.

Galway City Tribune – In response to criticism over the City Council’s preparedness for the arrival of Storm Eleanor on the Tuesday evening of January 2 last, Chief Executive Brendan McGrath said that all through the day, they [the Council] had monitored in detail the information being given to them as regards the storm and the risk of flooding.

He said that as regards the calling of a meeting of the Local Co-ordination Committee [flooding], the City Council had not been contacted by the Dept of the Environment to call such a meeting, even though other local authorities had received notifications.

Mr McGrath said that their preparations were based on the OPW’s (Office of Public Works) flood and storm warning data which had indicated that the storm surge on Tuesday evening would be below that of Tuesday morning.

He said that the data from the OPW – which the Council had to rely on – had indicated that the city would not be flooded on the Tuesday evening and indicated that the biggest flood risk would at high tide on the following Wednesday morning.

“Do I regret that this information supplied to us was wrong: of course, I do. Do I regret that businesses were flooded on the evening of the storm: of course I do.

“I share the frustrations of the Council as regards the flooding that occurred that evening but the constant criticisms of the Council was appalling and demoralising.

“I will take responsibility, but we made the decisions based on the information that we had before us. If you want to blame someone, blame me, but I only acted in accordance with the advice and information available to me.

“But, of course my heart goes out to everybody that was flooded on that Tuesday evening. All other aspects of this pale into insignificance compared to this,” Brendan McGrath told Monday’s City Council meeting.
To read the full report on the flooding discussion, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.