Cork flooding: Army deployed to aid relief efforts as several towns inundated by Storm Babet

Midleton impassable as east Cork bears brunt of deluge while Irish Rail forced to suspend some services

Cork has been left counting the cost of Storm Babet as heavy rainfall caused millions of euros worth of damage with homes and businesses flooded, and roads and bridges washed away as rivers burst their banks.

Five counties on the south and southeast coasts were subject to orange rain warnings on Wednesday as Storm Babet swept over the country.

East Cork bore the brunt of the storm with the centre of Midleton town flooded to a depth of over a metre. Cork County Council confirmed that more than 100 premises, residential and commercial, were damaged when local water courses burst their banks.

Patients had to be evacuated from Midleton Community Hospital in the centre of the town and many families were looking to stay with relatives as flood waters only began to recede from their homes after a high tide at 8pm in Midleton Estuary.


Commuters who had travelled by train to Cork for work returned to discover their cars had been flooded at Midleton Station car park. Iarnród Éireann was forced to suspend services from Cork to Midleton and Cobh because of the flooding.

Troops from Collins Barracks and Civil Defence teams on Wednesday night were helping Cork County Council crews and contractors with the clean-up. Gardaí helped with the evacuation of homes.

Local Midleton solicitor Ken Murray said he had been forced to climb out the window of his offices on Oliver Plunkett Place when water levels began to rise. A court sitting in nearby Midleton Courthouse had to be adjourned when floods threatened the building.

A Cork County Council spokeswoman said that while floodwaters had begun to recede in Midleton after the 8pm high tide, the river Kiltha had burst its banks at Castlemartyr. The main Cork-Waterford road was impassable with diversions in place.

In nearby Killeagh local parish priest Fr Tim Hazelwood said the village and surrounding areas were badly flooded with water levels in rivers and streams starting to rise on Tuesday night, with many premises on the main street flooded early on Wednesday.

“Some places were flooded around half eight this morning – the Thatch here in Killeagh was totally flooded and Inch church was like Lake Como, it was totally surrounded by water. We put up flood barriers last night but we haven’t been able to get up there to see how it fared.”

Further east, in Youghal, was also badly hit. Independent Cllr Mary Linehan Foley said more than 30 houses in Chestnut Drive on the western side of the town were flooded when a local stream burst its banks and came flowing through the estate.

“It’s a disaster down here,” she said.

Cork County Council said it was aware of the flooding of properties in Whitegate, Killeagh, Ladysbridge, Mogeely and Youghal in east Cork, Ringaskiddy, Raffeen and Carrigaline in south Cork, Rathcormac in north Cork and Halfway, Glandore and Castletownbere in west Cork.

Met Éireann’s provisional figures show that east Cork bore the brunt of Storm Babet with 81.2mm of rain falling at Roches Point near Whitegate, while 78.5mm fell at Cork Airport near Cork city, 64.1mm fell at Sherkin Island off west Cork and 47.6mm at Moorepark in north Cork.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times