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Ashbourne District Flooding Report

Posted 07 Dec. 2014
Met Eireann Precipitation Satellite view 12pm Thursday 13th Nov 2014

Thursday / Friday 13/14th Nov 2014

From Councillor Alan Tobin


The following report is my personal account of what happened on Thursday 13th of November. The aim of this report is to highlight what exactly happened on the day, what factors contributed to the flooding, and what sort of response we as a council can put in place so this hopefully cannot happen again or that, in this time of climate change, if it does happen again or if it is worse, that we are adequately prepared. We need a structure that in an emergency situation we know who is in charge, where people can go, who to contact and most importantly that Ashbourne has its own staff and engineering work area to store provisions needed to deal with extreme events such as flooding, snow, ice and wind. Each of these affects our citizens in different ways and we must be competent no matter what mother nature throws at us. I will highlight the areas where flooding occurred and then go into detail on each area and how we tried to help alleviate the problems. I will detail what work was done on the following day and I will then write about the aftermath and what we need to do now and for the longer term including deficiencies that are glaringly obvious and need to be addressed.

Areas Affected

Areas within the town (in alphabetical order):
Ashewood, Archerstown, Brookville, Castle Close, Castle Crescent, Castle Park, Churchfield, Deerpark, Don/Ash Gaa, Huntsgrove, Hunter’s Lane, Milltown Road, Rath Lodge, and Racehill.

Areas within the District:
Bollies Cross, Coolefore, Donaghmore, Fleenstown, Mabestown, Painestown, Primatestown, and Wooton

Roads affected:
Ratoath Rd., Ballybin Rd., Milltown Rd(L5019)., Kilbride Rd., and M2 exit No 3 from Dublin Primatestown( L5007 + 8).


Thursday 13th November started out like any other day; we had an orange weather warning and I remember thinking, “Ah one up from a yellow, I wonder what this could be like”. This new European-wide colour coding of weather was introduced to Ireland two years ago and to say it was orange and not red probably meant it wasn’t taken seriously. As we were about to find out in just a matter of 4 hours from approx. 9am – 1pm , 60mm of rain was to fall, emptying hundreds of thousands of litres of water into two water ways. The rise in water levels was dramatic and there were four main reasons that I can see which all contributed to what followed in the next:

  1. The sheer volume of rain water.
  2. Infrastructural problems from previous developments.
  3. Illegal dumping and maintenance of drains, water course, and vegetation in the area.
  4. Staffing levels and lack of resources in the district (3 outdoor staff led by Paul Beggy who did their utmost and must be commended along with engineers Janet Murphy and Adrian Hobbs).

There were also four reasons for the whole event not turning into an absolute disaster:

  1. All local Council Staff.
  2. Emergency services including Fire Brigade and Civil Defence.
  3. The Community.
  4. Use of social media – up to the minute reports of affected areas.

Ashbourne – Areas with in the town

Here we will look specifically at two areas the two waterways charged with relieving the town of all its surface rain water from roof tops, gardens, car parks and roads. The water ways in question are:

A) The Broad Meadow river from Donaghmore-Ashbourne GAA club to Ashbourne Golf Club on the Milltown Rd and;

B) A curious tributary (which will be called ‘the tributary’ as it is such of the Broad Meadow) that runs from the back of Ashbourne Business Park to Milltown just before the bridge over the Broad Meadow into the Golf Club. This tributary is open in sections and piped underground in others and is a serious problem and will take a huge undertaking to alleviate.

As I detail each area I will be starting at the upper most end of each water way working my way down stream for simplicity.

The Broad Meadow River

The Broad Meadow pretty much did its job on the day; it was reported that it was at its 2nd highest level in 30 years, which tells us that water volume was the problem here.

GAA Club Approach Rd.

We do have a flood plain where the GAA club presently lies and the river did breach at a section of road half way up the avenue to the clubhouse. This occurred (luckily enough) after the school closed next to the club. The road is built too low it was suggested to me by a club official.

Churchfield’s Entrance

Adjacent to the entrance to Churchfield’s is an underground containment area. I presume this was breached; however, there is a dip in the road and this became impassable very early on with residents abandoning cars on footpaths and walking into the estate.

Killegland Hall no’s 46-96

This development looks out onto the river. These apartments are built on the floodplain and the opposite side of this residential area did flood (next to the playground). There were a number of residents worried along here and sandbags were distributed to some people. They were left until last as other areas were higher in priority. The River was approx. 1 metre high. In Killegland Hall it was very hard to get information to these people; it might be an idea to launch and distribute emergency cards stating what the public authority can do, where the contacts are and perhaps have a Facebook or Twitter page as a central point for information.

Garden City various areas

I’m living in Garden City all my life and there are areas that have always been susceptible to flooding and yet again these areas were the first to be hit. The drainage in these spots: 1. There are three houses in Castle Park that are the only ones in Garden City with basements and house no’s, they have been hit several times. Castle Close outside no’s and Castle Crescent no’s. In this estate, the Resident’s Association have asked me and others to clean out drains here as a part of regular maintenance. If blockages weren’t the problem these areas in the estate must have their infrastructural problems rectified. This is going on 30-40 yrs now we also have two other flash points outside Garden City Shopping Centre and above St.Declans School on Bourne Ave.

Garden City was built on average about 40 years ago now. Castle Park no’s 163-167 have always had a problem and to be fair, we must correct whatever it is that is causing the problem here. The houses do have raised floors; however, water does come in the air vents and I presume it can and will rot timber.

Three houses no’s 54 – 56 which have basements flood regularly in recent years and have only had problems since the natural ditch here was filled in when Crestwood estate was built in the mid-eighties.

Castle Close / Crescent

Castle Close odd numbered houses 1- 13 plus 14,15,16 and 17 and Castle Crescent odd numbers again 1 – 19 had problems as water flowed and water pooled from Castle Way into these roads. This seems to have happened when drains overflowed due to the amount of rain in such a short period of time. There are plans and actions being taken presently by the Council between Garden City and Alderbrook as well as cleaning and maintanence of drains in all parts of Garden City. I have no doubts that flooding in this estate would have been a lot worse were it not for the dedication of the residents committee who sweep up leaves here every Saturday and the swift actions of the Fire brigade. Here are photographs and an account by Mr. Tom Kenny of Castle Crescent

“At the request of Mary Kenny, I am forwarding some photos taken during the flood and on the following day, after the water dispersed. In one of the photos, you can see a portion of the cover to the nearest blocked road drain, marked by three cones. Not seen by us before was the amount of water covering the highest point of the footpath, circa 1 to 2 inches, with all that water flowing from the road, over the path and down into our houses. The amount of water was not helped by water flows from further up the estate draining into our road. The water level seemed to rise incredibly rapidly and gave little time to prepare defenses. Not having any sandbags until after the waters dispersed did not help. Water level was above the vents on the houses (14 inches being the highest recorded at my place)and so flowed underneath floors. We were lucky in that the water stopped just before it reached to top of the doorstep. We did not have a full uninterupted electricity supply until the following Tuesday, as the electrical connections and wiring dried out. I think we were also lucky in having an off duty garda in uniform who I believe flagged down the Fire Brigade and thus got them to start pumping out the road.  This was still too late to prevent damage but may well have minimised the worst of the damage for most of us.  The Council needs to be aware that some work needs to be done on the drains and ensure that flood waters draining from other parts of the estate do not drain down to us, noting we are on a lower level than other parts of the estate. Finally, thanks for organising the sand bags late on that evening and delivery of same”

Castle St

There is also a dip when exiting Castle St. traveling south outside Frederick Apartments just before the traffic lights. This is a relatively new problem area and is adjacent to the river.


I was alerted to Deerpark outside no’s. A drainage problem in a site above no’s … appears to be causing the problem here, rain water drains through the site and through no.. .When the river rises here water has nowhere to escape and swells here, the fire brigade had to pump water from here. This was the first area where I saw sandbags being used. Residents that had been flooded in the past were quick to head down to the local hardware store for bags of sand and sandbags. I did ensure later on that more bags were dropped here later in the evening. There is a problem here that needs to be looked at; with drains set below the level of the river draining into the river and backing up during heavy rains. Milltown Rd Milltown Bridge to the golf club flooded and was impassable in a short period of time. I saw this area at high levels back around the year 2000. The river here just needs an embankment 1.5-2 metres from bridge to bridge approx 150 m long. This concludes the Broad Meadow Water section.

B) A Curious Tributary

The curious tributary has been tampered with extensively over the years. As housing developments have been built and the town has extended outwards, we appear to have created a problem channelling more and more water inwards  into the town rather than doing the logical thing and providing a drainage system that diverts storm water away from the population centre. We now have a problem and works provided for 12 years ago were supposed to prevent the following from happening ….

 Ashbourne Business Park

Areas of this industrial estate have huge car parks, loading bays and roof tops that drain massive volumes of water into just one drainage area. There are no holding areas here that can soak up or slow down the flow of water. Natural marshland type habitats could slow this down and would create fabulous artificial ecosystems in areas of otherwise wasteland. This area was the source of major amounts of water hitting a small tributary in a very short period of time. Once the water entered the system other areas downstream quickly backed up.


Already ravaged by pyrite, the residents of Rathlodge really didn’t need this .We did what we could to help and I really feel we lost 5 houses here ; however, the residents were grateful for the help received and reckoned more could have gone were it not for actions of the Council, Fire and residents that helped fill and distribute sandbags. Residents here were given a skip to help ease their burden.

At the North-east corner of Rathlodge, in front of no’s 98 – 102, a facility was built around 10 years ago which was designed to take 30-40% of the larger volumes of water from the tributary to be redirected down the Ballybin rd., (I have been informed of this and reckon percentage wise judging by the size of outlet pipe that this is what it was designed to do).
The facility was worked on at some stage in the not too distant past and an access point was made through an embankment which acted as a buffer zone between Rathlodge and the tributary/business park. It was approximately 2-3 metres high. Had this still been in place, the area may not have been so badly affected however it may have given areas lower down more time to cope with the amount of water backing up at various points.

A trench was dug to relieve the area here to try and prevent other houses flooding; this measure did work. The trench was located in front of no. 98. The water line in the houses that have concrete floor was approx. 300 mm .Houses were damaged with sewage running through the ground floors .Electrical sockets were not affected .

I have had residents here voice concerns over insurance and perhaps a letter from the council on counter measures taken will allieviate their fears.


A resident from here highlighted the fact that there was a secondary diversion built at the back of Rathlodge .When I arrived to this area at approx. 10am Adrian and one of the Council machinery drivers were trying to remove a grid from the diversion route. Once the grid was removed the water levels started dropping immediately. The grid was blocked with debris and vegetation and was probably the number one contributory factor to everything that had occurred the night before.

Racehill Manor

Racehill Manor was fine but all drainage needs to be maintained so no problems arise in the future. Threats to blockages are vegetation and illegal dumping.

Hunters Lane

There is a bridge from Hunter’s lane to St. Mary’s primary school. The pipe funnelling water under the bridge is adequate however the volume of water had carried quite a lot of natural vegetation to bridge and a build-up of water was created. Paul Beggy cleared here with JBC.

Brookville – Huntsgrove pedestrian access bridge

On inspection at this point we made a startling discovery, we had quite a large Leylandii section of tree that was deliberately cut by someone and dumped into the water course with absolutely no regard for consequences. It was also the source of some of the illegally dumped carpet and underlay which reduced flows through grids which I will elaborate on further downstream, the carpet was actually caught in the branch of the tree and could be seen coming through the pipe under the bridge on the opposite side . Paul Beggy also cleared here with JBC although access into this area is restricted.


In the Millennium Park there is a large containment area, when it was built residents in Huntsgrove were led to believe would be large enough to prevent future flooding back in 2003 ,it is also a pumping station for the line leading to Castle St and on to Deerpark. On the Thursday it appear this either was overwhelmed or it did not work ,the result was a huge build up (outside no’s 10 & 11) of water which I am led to believe travels through a number of gardens and eventually builds up in no.27 and flows into No.28 or Mr. Steve Gary’s ground floor effectively and then into our tributary.I have attached a report from Mr Gary who is a very knowledgeable man on this issue as this is the 3rd time he has been flooded and even has his own generator and pump to try and save his belongings such is the unfortunate location he finds himself and his family in.We will read in his own words Steve’s experience later in this section.

No. 28 it appears is built too low, to effectively deal with this. The owner has installed at considerable cost a diesel generator and a 6in water pump. He has designed this to take away water and release it into the tributary which at its height was about 400mm from the retaining wall at the side of his house .I tried to get sandbags to this house ,however it was too late as water had already breached the front ,side and boiler house doors but we sandbagged the doorways anyway. Panda were called in by Janet and were there for probably 12 hours or more pumping water from the site. I was astonished at how much water was around Mr. Gary’s house and in the tributary. We decided to have a look at no. 29 Huntsgrove as Mr. Gary suggested and my word was I surprised at what lay before me .

A cascade of water was lashing through the garden of this property.The garden pond and its contents gone ,a grid supposed to prevent blockages and secure properties was full of carpet ,an odd election poster (not mine I can assure you ) and assorted debris ,all of which had blocked the small underground pipework which should have been taking the water away. This piped section is obviously inadequate but as I realise the problems here, the cost of rectification measures needed are huge and we aren’t even near finished .We will need Council , OPW  and – if its available – European funding to fix this.
This is Steve’s response to flooding at the back of Murtagh’s Topline service yard

I’ve only just found this out, I was in Murtagh’s this morning collecting blocks and cement to repair and reinforce our protection, and discovered that the river that did the damage here was also responsible for flooding and damage in Murtagh’s yard as well. That’s the first time I’ve been aware of the section between Brookville and Hunters Lane being so high, there was between 12 and 18 inches of water in their yard, and some stock was damaged as there was no way to move it to a higher location in the time available.

It would seem based on that information that the grid that protects the pipe at Hunters lane was also badly blocked, and that would explain why the levels were so high in Hunters Lane and the section towards Archerstown,

I am close to having things repaired here, the large pump has been repaired, although there is no way that I can long term test it, and the undermining damage caused by the exceptional flow levels has been repaired, so hopefully, we are ready for any repeat. That said, I have decided that in order to be able to sleep at night, and to be able to have some sense of normality, I’ve also gone out and spent money (£400 plus delivery from the UK) on a standby diesel pump that will be ready for use at short notice, I can’t risk being dependent on Boyne pumps, or hiring from the local hire centre, as neither of those options can be guaranteed, and if things get bad here, they do so very rapidly, so going further afield to get pumps is not an option.

The cost of hiring pumps and the fuel to run them last week was over €100, and that’s without the additional cost of the Boyne pump. which I suspect is not far off €100 per hour, based on the figure mentioned by Paul Beggy when he was here to look at the Irish Water problem,

I can’t afford that sort of cost to prevent damage that is down to the failings of Meath CC, the standby I will have shortly is diesel, which will be a lot cheaper to run, which will help,. but realistically, that cost should be met by Meath CC, the problems we face can be 100% attributed to the issues I have already mentioned in previous mail, and given the complexity of the problems, there is no way that a long term solution will be in place for this winter, and very likely longer, I’m under no illusions that we are in for a very stressful couple of years with this issue, and fighting Meath CC is likely to be an unpleasant scenario, but I seem to have very few options left if I ever want to be able to sell this house.

Hope the information about Murtagh’s helps.

Best regards

Steve Garry

The following is an email I received from Mr.Steve Gary of 28 Huntsgrove. He describes aptly in his own words what has happened to him and his family and his solutions to the problem .It also contain a link to photos in dropbox;


As discussed, a link to the photos of the flood as it developed around us and Brookville. We’ve not got pics at the absolute peak, we were having to work too hard to try and keep things under control around the place.


This link can be passed to anyone that needs to be able to see the pictures, and I do have backup copies if there are any issues with the dropbox.

So that you have a point of reference, the block wall between us and the river as it goes through the garden is 4 blocks high, so that’s 36″, and at the peak of the flood, the channel above the stream had about 34″ in it, so the total depth was close on 70″ above the base of the channel. That’s a MASSIVE volume of water for a relatively short period of rainfall

That said, hopefully, Mike Delaney, at No 29 has forwarded pictures of the discarded carpets, bedding  and furnishings that we removed from his grid on Saturday, once the levels had dropped significantly, and even at that stage, it took 4 of us to get them off the grid, with Mike in the stream in waders up to his waist, which was not possible before Saturday as it would have been too dangerous, due to the flow rate and depth on the river. His grid was so badly blocked, I had 6″ of water going into the pipe at my house, his grid was so badly blocked, it was still over topping his pipe, and did so until we had removed the rubbish from his grid.That degree of junk and rubbish hindering the free flow of water means that any theoretical calculation of the capacity of the system is meaningless, and we saw the effect of the overspill from here in the level of water that was present in Hunters lane

There are a number of issues that are going to have to be resolved. None of them are recent as such, some of them date back 25 years to when these estates were given planning permission and built.

The first is the long term issue that has been highlighted to Meath County Council, but is now the responsibility of Irish Water, the foul sewer that serves the 2 storey houses around the circle at the end of Brookville, it passes over the river channel just below the bridge in Brookville.

The effect of this pipe and the excessive size concrete reinforcement around it is to reduce the free flow cross section of the channel from 10 Sq Ft to 6 Sq ft, which has the effect of also reducing the capacity of the pipe from the back of our garden to that capacity, as water won’t flow uphill. This problem has been highlighted on a number of occasions to various engineers at the council since the previous major flood in 2002, and I also highlighted it in a formal objection to planning in relation to the lands close to the river on the east of Hunters Lane, as raising the level of the East side footpath in Hunters lane will make the levels in Brookville and our garden even higher than they were in 2002.

It is also clear that there are significant problems with obstructions caused by illegal and inappropriate dumping of household waste and garden prunings into the river, as you saw at St Mary’s School bridge, where the council staff had to remove a 20Ft section of Leylandii that had been felled by a local resident, and the problems experienced by Mike at No 29. In theory, maintenance of the water course is the responsibility of OPW, but they clearly do not have the resources to perform that task, and the manner in which the access to the river has been restricted means that getting any machinery in to clear it is not possible, and for health and safety reasons, they are reluctant to enter the water to even inspect the route, and the section above Mike is inaccessible from the houses either side because of the size of the walls in the gardens.

When this sort of dumping activity takes place, the potential for damage to properties and the risk to life is massive, the river becomes a serious hazard by virtue of the depth and speed of flow, if a person were to fall in while attempting to clear a grid of obstructions, there is the very real chance that such a fall would be fatal, as the pressure of water holding someone against a grid could make it impossible to get out of the water. Both Mike Delaney and myself have witnessed very near misses when the local fire brigade were looking at the situation with a view to assisting with reducing the flood levels, and we both know from painful experience just how hard it is to get large objects off the grids at times of peak flow..

It has become clear that the Millennium Garden foul pumping station cannot cope with the flow that arrives at it during wet weather., and that the overflow then is discharged above ground at the entrance to the Huntsgrove Estate. In 2002, when the sewers overflowed, pre the construction of that upgrade, that resulted in the damage that was done here, as the overflow from the sewers came overground through the estate, until it arrived in my garden, and at that time, while I had the wall between us and the river. which prevented the river from flooding us as it had done in 2000, I had no pumps in place to deal with the quantity of sewage contaminated water that arrived in our garden. Some overflow from the Millennium Garden scheme occurred this time, as it could not cope with the volumes, but it was not enough to get through the estate to us, which was just as well, as we could not have coped with any more water, as it was, about 2″ of water got into the ground floor of the house, despite us having 5 different pumps running, and the assistance of the Boyne tanker pumping out our garden area.

There are other issues, the original one is that our house is at least 2 Ft lower than it should have been, despite a letter from the developer of Brookville being sent to the Area manager in Ashbourne at the time, but no enforcement action was taken.

Unfortunately, I only became aware of this issue a number of years after the house was complete and we had moved in, had I known it at the time before we moved in, things would have been very different.

It was also reported that the overflow in Rath Lodge into an alternative path to the Ballybin road pipeline did not work as it was supposed to, and this resulted in more water coming into our section of the river than was supposed to. I have subsequently looked at that point, and I am concerned that the size of the diversion path is completely undersized, and will be unable to provide the relief that is needed at times of storm flow.

I also need to discuss with the local engineer what provisions, (if any) were made when the Primeline logistics site and area was developed by McCabe, as there is a massive roof area and tarmac parking area that that will allow massive and rapid outflow rates during a storm, and if no detention has been put in place, that represents a massive risk to our property.

We have the added disadvantage that the storm water pipe taking a substantial flow from the North of the town also enters the river on our property, and it has been added to by later developments since this estate was built.

It was my understanding that a significant percentage of the flow of that pipe was going to be diverted into a new pipe in Ned’s lane as part of the Millennium Sewer upgrade, but I am more than suspicious that the new storm water pipe was not laid as part of that project, which means that we have a pipe below us that is restricted by the sewer in Brookville that is trying to support the river, which is in the same size pipe above us, AND the extra pipe that joins it on our land. There is no way that is ever going to work, it’s physically not possible

Even though it was relatively minor, the flood last Thursday was the final straw, and the breaking point. and leaving things as they are is fundamentally no longer acceptable.

I am not getting any younger, and I don’t have the physical strength or mobility to deal with large and heavy obstructions that jam up on the grid and block the flow of the river, and I should not have to lose a night’s sleep to attend to pumps that are preventing flooding for reasons that are not of my making.

A number of people at Meath County Council have commented that the works I have done here to prevent flooding are way beyond what would or should be expected of a householder, both in terms of cost and complexity, and despite spending that time and money, I am now faced with the frightening situation that though no fault of mine, I have a property that has been classified as being in a 1 in 100 year flood risk area, but has actually been flooded 3 times in less than 15 years, with the damage in the 2002 flood being over €120,000, and the repairs on that occasion took over 7 months, and we had to move out for that period of time due to the scale of the damage.

This time, as a result of specific decisions made in 2002, the damage was fortunately minimal. as I was able to keep the water levels down to less than 2 “, but we came very close to losing the battle, as the river was so much higher this time than it was in 2002, and came very close to over topping my protective wall.

Due to the recession, and our ages, we no longer have the regular work, and consequently do not have the  financial resources to spend on flood prevention that we used to have, yet we are still massively at risk.

If the tanker from Boyne had not been here, to supplement the extra pumps that I was able to hire at short notice, the damage would have been massive, and we have already had one insurance company (RSA) decline to renew our cover in 2013, their offer for an increased premium compared to the previous year would have been without ANY flood cover. At present, we have flood cover with another company, but if we  were to claim for the relatively minor damage of this event, there is the very real risk that we would then lose the cover we have at present, which would leave us very vulnerable in future.

Between the hire cost of the 2 extra pumps, and the fuel to run them for close on 18 hours, we spent close on €100, and the harsh reality is that we do not have the reserves to do that on a regular basis throughout the winter, and we know from previous experience that we cannot rely on getting help from Boyne or Panda tankers, this event is the first time we have had a tanker here, the previous focus was always on the entrance to Huntsgrove, as the residents there were able to afford legal action to compel the council to protect their property, the result being that on many occasions, we were left with nothing.

Despite the last flood being in 2002, Val was only just starting to feel safe here again, and that feeling of safety was destroyed again last Thursday. She would like to move out of here, but the reality is that to move, we have to sell this house in order to buy somewhere else, and as things stand now, I cannot see anyone being willing to buy the house, given the history with flooding. This house was supposed to be a significant contributor to my pension retirement fund, it now would seem more likely that it is valueless, and that leaves me with a massive problem. There is no way that we can even think of knocking what’s here and rebuilding at a higher level, and it’s even questionable if it is safe to rebuild even 2Ft 6 higher, given the levels we saw last week. Anyway, it’s academic, there’s no way we can even think of that sort of expense, we don’t have a chance of even beginning to think about it.

In the short term, regardless of the plans put in place by the Council,. we are at significant risk of flooding this winter, and realistically, I do not believe it to be unreasonable to expect that Meath CC should fund the hire or purchase of a suitable capacity standby pump that will be available instantly on site here to cover any event of adverse weather.

It was clear on Thursday that a minor problem with one pump here was the difference between keeping the water out, and being flooded, and clearly, if I had not been here to spend 18 hours working to keep the water out, we would have seen 36” of water in the house. That is unacceptable, and I believe that in the circumstances, it is reasonable to expect that Meath CC should provide financial assistance towards the direct costs of preventing  repeats of the flooding, until at least such time as remedial action has been taken to remove the real risk that the river presents. In that respect, who do I need to speak with at the Council to start that process of negotiation, as it will probably be considerably cheaper than the cost of having Boyne tankers here on a regular basis?

I am going to suggest that it might also be useful and appropriate to organise a public meeting in the town for affected residents, with the relevant officials of the County Council also present, so that we can make sure that everyone is aware of the size of the problems, and the issues that they present, clearly, the most recent problems have affected many more people and locations than has been the case previously, and it would seem that it is now essential to ensure that a comprehensive plan to resolve the issues permanently is put into place, and agreed with all the parties that are affected.

I will close by thanking you for the significant efforts that you have already put into helping us, it is very much appreciated, I’m well aware that there are others in as bad or a worse position this time round, and that you are working with the full time staff of the council to try to find solutions, and I’m also aware that doing so could very easily impact on your own business, so I do appreciate the time and assistance, it has helped to reduce the very real pain and mind numbing stress of the recent events.

I look forward to discussing some of these issues with you soon,

Best regards

Steve Garry

Murtagh Topline

The back yard here flooded; it backs onto the tributary and we must look at this as a lot of stock was destroyed. Colin Murtagh the owner provided a brief statement  “We are not sure of full extent yet but defo talking thousands and we’re not covered in the yard!!!!”


George Glynn developed this estate in the eighties; there are two story semi-detached houses as well as bungalows. The two story houses are built in a circle and the only access point by car is over our tributary which, at this point, our first major infrastructural problem arises. The pipe running under the road is far too small and is subject to blocking again from illegal dumping and to a greater extent, vegetation which was washed into the pipe work. The water at this point has no option ,once the quantity of water exceeds that the pipe work can take flows into the estate isolating the two storey semi d’s .Throughout the evening we provided sandbags for residents here and there was an air of panic as water levels rose quite quickly .Luckily no houses were flooded here however the pipe work under the road needs to be modified and funding found as a matter of urgency. Another bigger problem is a waste water pipe which restricts the amount of water running downstream. To rectify this will take a major element of structural engineering: how do we increase the flow here and take waste water away?

Hunter’s Lane

Hunter’s Lane allows access into 4 areas Archerstown, Ashewood, Brookville and Hunter’s lane itself. This area was virtually cut off for over 24 hrs and residents relied on lifts to their houses in tractors and 4×4’s. Cars were abandoned on the approach roads and in Maple Grove and Milltown Est. A large no. of cars were also left in the Ashbourne House Hotel.

There were a number of areas in this section contributing to the overall quantity of water at this section which was very substantial .The most influential problem was again the size of the pipe work under the road; if we are to increase the pipe work under the roadway ,there will be considerable disruption for residents ,there was no flooded houses although Brookville Apartments were very close to flooding and again sandbags were needed here ,even just to reassure people for the night.


Ashewood should not have had any problems but one house did flood and was extensively damaged. An additional two were also breached but are either in NAMA or belong to the banks. Houses here shouldn’t have been flooded really. Shores were blocked here by vegetation on the approach road to Archerstown while the Fire Brigade tried in vain to reduce the damage done to the houses.

The following day the tributary was dredged ,we took a gate out of the river that was restricting flow ,there was a lot of vegetation in particular along sections between Archerstown and The Hawthorns .Illegal dumping of garden waste here was responsible for one section where the bank was narrowed significantly causing restrictions in flow ,a drain at the back of Archerstown was also identified as being blocked and was also cleared. The tributary was checked throughout the Archerstown site in Phase 2 and cleared where necessary.


No 1 Cedar Rd Archerstown and the adjacent tow properties needed sandbags due to the height of the tributary at this point ,it was here that we cleared an old gate and heavy vegetation from the area ,the resulting increase in flow was immediate . No.1 it appears is also illegally dumpng domestic waste into the ditch here and needs further investigation.

The following is a note from the Chair of the residents association

 “Good Morning Alan,
Thanks for your help over the past few day with the flooding in our local area. I would like to suggest that the Council now bring in a road sweeper along Hunters Lane and at the Ashwood to Archerstown Wood access road to clear away the potential for further blockages of shores. Currently a lot of sediment / leaves is left which will further block shores and if cleared up would reduce the future risk from flooding. Also the waste water shores need to be cleaned out as they are badly blocked, in the past I and other have cleaned them out but with inadequate equipment the results are never as good as those undertaken by the Council. I look forward to your response.”

-Robert Butler

I asked Michael Mullens , a developer in Archerstown, to open up access in Phase 2 so residents had access without having to go through Hunter’s Lane Staff from areas not affected should have been instructed in some way to deploy to areas affected.

Milltown Rd

The tributary flows into the Broadmeadow river on the Milltown Rd between the Milltown Bridge and the entrance into the golf club. The house directly opposite the golf club entrance was significantly flooded: waist high, I was informed. The solution here should be simple enough: an embankment between the two bridges two-three metre s high would be my suggestion.

Motorway exit 3 northbound

This is the responsibility of the NRA. Being a new road essentially and the continuous maintenance that takes place on the road itself, the cause of what happened must be investigated. Traffic coming from Dublin on the evening in question had to enter the town from the northern end causing traffic problems from 4pm to around 7.30 pm. Some cars were also stranded on the slip road also.

Bollies Cross

Located on the Duleek road a constant area that has had a lot of money spent on drainage and road dressing is just outside Brian Smith’s Auto Salvage ,the road flooded here and only when an old stone wall collapsed with the weight of water pushing onto it , the problem resolved itself ,here is a photo of the remaining wall ,which I suggest shouldn’t be built back up ! The wall is located on the left hand side of the road just beyond the perimeter of the salvage yard.

Stamullen village

Although I was not here personally I was contacted by two residents; one of whom provides some pictures, Lisa Mellor is from the Stamullen Community Alert


I received a call from an elderly lady requesting sandbags in this area. When I turned right off the N2 at the traffic lights in Primatestown I firstly witnessed a river of water crossing the N2 down the L5008. The road itself was a water way and considerable damage was done to the road surface here. The elderly lady was glad of the help and her son and daughter contacted me personally thanking the council.


A quick word on this area: although in Co. Dublin, one house in particular here was badly flooded. Part of the problem appears to have been a wall which restricted the water and caused it to pool; however the water came from the Co. Meath side of the boarder, specifically from what is known as Curragha bog. A wall collapsed in this area and it was lucky no one drowned at this location.


Again I had calls here from two elderly ladies living next to one another; they were in fear as both houses were surrounded by water. I sent a volunteer friend of mine to them with sandbags. Their exact location was across from Rabbittes in Mabestown , Mr Joe O’Sullivan

Donaghmore /Wooton

There has been a flooding problem outside Brentwood Dogs for as long as I can remember. The Fire Brigade almost lost one of their engines here such was the depth of the water at this point. I believe the problem here is in some way caused by a resident that blocked up the natural drain and will not allow the council rectify the problem. If this is true we must try to do something here. Brentwood lost one dog this time around and the whole experience is not only stressful on the family involved but is affecting their business badly. It also causes considerable disruption to people living around the area.

Ballybin Rd

The Ballybin road has two particularly bad spots one in Ratoath District: right at the border line with the Ashbourne district and one in Ashbourne between the flyover and the severe bend beyond Ballybin Mowers. Again, these areas have flooded previously .I advised Janet to close the road here, which we did and although we had heavy traffic on the Ratoath Rd ,it was the right decision. The waters were excessively high and impassable especially for motorcars; local traffic was still able to gain access.

Ratoath Rd

At the Ratoath side of the motorway fly over just before The Cottage Garden Centre, water pooled here. There is a drainage problem here and it escalated as the evening went on. At one stage when trying to get to Ratoath for sandbags ,the road could only be passed by one lane of traffic. The flood waters also ended up flooding gardens and possibly one or two houses on the opposite side of road to the garden centre.


My first call out was to a friend of mine Mr. Ron Chawke; he had been flooded before and has to date spent €9,500 of his own money trying to protect his family home. When he rang me he was in a panic, waters from the river at the back of his house had risen dramatically due to an undersized pipe under the road outside his house the L

When I arrived on the scene, a friend of Ron’s had arrived in a digger and had blocked off his front door with gravel. I used the sandbags to block off his back and patio doors. Ron had put a fairly deep gully in front of his house as well as a mound along the front which channelled the bulk of the flood waters away from the house and into the river. Previously, engineers had inspected this area and said it was ok but this is the 2nd time in three years that Ron has experienced flooding here. The water cannot get past the pipe work under the road quick enough and pushes up over the road into Ron’s garden instead of continuing down stream .

We checked on a number of elderly neighbours living in the vicinity of the river to ensure they were ok.


Throughout this report I have identified:

Ashewood, Archerstown, Brookville, Castle Close, Castle Crescent, Castle Park, Churchfield, Deerpark, Don/Ash Gaa, Huntsgrove, Hunter’s Lane, Milltown Road, Rath Lodge, and Racehill.

Bollies Cross, Coolefore, Donaghmore, Fleenstown, Mabestown, Painestown, Primatestown, and Wooton.

Ratoath Rd., Ballybin Rd., Milltown Rd., Kilbride Rd., and M2 exit No 3 from Dublin L5007.

Notes Designate car parks in future Gardai involvement, Civil Defence Red Cross, emergency centre for people to go to. I would guesstimate that upwards of 1200 sandbags were distributed.

Lessons Learned

It appears that past mistakes did arise again in talking to local people that have been affected in the past on a number of occasions .From this report I want one specific item to be addressed: I want an Emergency Plan drawn up by the Council. I want it to include a plan of action in the event of natural disaster that may happen in the future. I want someone to be able to take control of a given situation; be it flooding, snow, ice, heavy storm damage or drought.

In times of climate change, we do not know what mother nature has in store for us. We can and will have more heavy rain into the future with sea levels and temperatures rising and feeding the south westerly winds that reach our shores, saturating the country with rain and, as we experienced on saturated ground, flooding can occur within hours. We were lucky that we were not dealing with human fatality on Thursday the 13th either by drowning or by electrocution. If more houses had been flooded and power cut to their houses, where would people have gone? Were they to fend for themselves in the wet and cold? I took it upon myself to ring the Residents’ Hotel, who did offer 3 rooms free of charge, if they were needed. I also asked the Pillo and was very unhappy with their response of a standard charge! We need a designated emergency shelter, be it the Garda St, Civic building or the Community Centre which is equipped to handle such an extreme event. It could be done on a community, voluntary basis with facilities like cots and rations including hot drinks etc and it must be somewhere warm and secure and more importantly where vulnerable citizens can feels safe. The Civil Defence in Ashbourne could be charged with this section.

There was an air of panic in some people that I visited but effectively there was no-one in control of the situation. There wasn’t a co-ordinated plan. We relied on local people coming out on a terrible night and really looking out for other people. The Ashbourne Red Cross offered assistance with their ambulance and 4 x 4 vehicles. A farming friend transported sandbags with his tractor. A group of 10 people took over from the Ashbourne Civil Defence in Ratoath at 10pm to fill extra sandbags.

We should have been able to seek assistance from other districts that weren’t affected

So realistically there are a number of areas that need to be prioritised should such a plan be drawn up. There needs to be a command structure so everyone know exactly what needs to be done in a given situation:

1) Transport;

2) Temporary Emergency Centre and Command area;

3) Council engineering works must be upgraded;

4) Water courses and where drains are should be changed and directed away from the town itself rather than bringing them from outer areas through the town; for example, from Ashbourne Industrial Estate to the town.

5) Most importantly there must be cooperation between the districts !

Damien Reilly – Ratoath District Rep.


A special thank you to all Meath Co Co  staff for all their help on the night in question ,each and every staff member went well above their call of duty .Especially Janet Murphy who literally wasn’t there a wet week J, Adrian Hobbs ,Paul Beggy and his crew and  Cllr Bonner also deserves credit as do the Ashbourne Civil Defence and all citizens from the area that volunteered their time, vehicles and sweat to ensure that everything that could be done under the circumstances was in the town and surrounding areas.