Cube Company assisting Flood Victims

Date: 07/12/09

Some 150 tradesmen, architects and engineers have signed up to use their skills free of charge to help distraught homeowners devastated by floods, it was revealed today.

Plumbers, plasterers, electricians, painters and decorators will all give up their time yesterday to help with coordinated repair work in the midlands.

Offers of help have come from not only the Athlone area but across the east coast, including Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow, according to organisers

Ted Laverty, managing director, said he was delighted with the response and predicted the numbers could rise above 200.

“You talk to a lot of them and they’re genuinely enthusiastic about it,” Mr Laverty said. “They’ve all been affected by what they’ve seen. It’s like a national Hurricane Katrina. It’s been really heartening. I’m delighted with the response so far.”

The volunteering day of action was expected to take place last weekend but organisers were forced to postpone it for a week as water levels were still too high.

Ian O’Flynn, of the Athlone Flood Response Centre, said volunteers have been assessing what needs to be done to prepare the way for the tradesmen.

“A lot of people won’t be back in before Christmas, but the ones we’re able to work on we want at least to make them habitable, and not damp . . . that’s really what we’re trying to get the lads in to do,” Mr O’Flynn said.

“So many people around the country are saying these are my skills, this is what I can do.”

It is estimated that around 200 families have had their homes damaged by the floods in the Westmeath area, with around half remaining in temporary accommodation.

Martin Mansergh, junior minister with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, told a Dáil committee that some flood-hit homeowners in parts of the country may never return to their houses because of the scale of the damage.

Elsewhere, the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) today announced it has set aside a “substantial fund” to assist its members whose businesses have been affected by the recent flooding.

VFI members can apply for financial support through an agreed application and verification process.

Speaking today, Val Hanley, president of the VFI said; “Christmas is the busiest time of the year for our members. Devastating as they would have been at any stage, these floods could not have come at a worse time for publicans, many of whom are already struggling to keep their businesses alive during these difficult times.”

The ESB reported today water levels in Lough Derg have fallen a further 3cm overnight, with the discharge rate from Parteen Weir down overnight by a further 7 per cent below yesterday’s level .

Reservoir levels remain high at Poulaphouca reservoir and in the Liffey, however, and the ESB is continuing to discharge water from the reservoir.

Limerick City Council is continuing to monitor the level of Shannon River. It has put down sandbags at vulnerable points along the quays from Merchant’s Quay to the Shannon Bridge at Mallow Street and at Verdant Place as a precaution.

Additional reporting PA