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Tuesday, 22 October, 2002, 13:45 GMT 14:45 UK
Clearing up begins after flooding
The Met Office issued severe weather warnings
The Met Office issued severe weather warnings
Clearing up is under way after a second night of flooding caused by severe weather conditions in Northern Ireland

High tides and mudslides led to a number of road closures on Tuesday morning in counties Antrim and Down.

Most roads have now re-opened but the Roads Service has advised care on the coast road outside Larne and on the A2 coast road out of Newcastle.

Some homes in Newcastle were the worst affected, with carpets and furniture destroyed.


The water flowing off the mountains combined with the very high tide has certainly caused extensive flooding

John White
Roads Service
Roads Service' spokesman John White said staff were out through the night attempting to relieve flooding.

"In some cases they've had to close roads and, indeed, have been sandbagging properties to avoid flooding," he said.

"It's been particularly bad in the Newcastle area where the main emphasis has been on trying to keep the roads open.

"But the water flowing off the (Mourne) mountains combined with the very high tide has certainly caused extensive flooding."

'Torrents of water'

Brian Irvine, of the fire service, spent much of the Monday night dealing with emergencies in the south Down area.

He described the flooding as the worst he had ever seen.

"Driving along the road there were manhole covers popping out off the road.

"They were shooting up like fountains with torrents of water coming across the road," he said.

"We had to drive very slowly because every time you went round a bend there was another severe flood and again, people were trapped."

Kevin Monaghan of the Roads Service
Kevin Monaghan: Roads Service did all it could
SDLP South Down assembly member Eamonn O'Neill criticised the response of the government agencies to the flooding, despite severe weather warnings.

"The emergency services once again let the people of Newcastle down. It wasn't as if this was going to be a surprise," said Mr O'Neill.

But this was rejected by Kevin Monaghan of the Roads Service.

"We've been taking emergency calls throughout yesterday evening and throughout last night," said Mr Monaghan.

"We responded as quickly as we could under the circumstances - we cannot be everywhere all the time.

"We prioritized the calls as they came in and we responded as quickly as possible."

The Omeath Road, just south of Newry in County Down, has also reopened after being flooded.

In County Antrim, Troopers Lane in Carrickfergus has reopened while the Hightown Road and Corrs Corner areas of Glengormley are getting back to normal.

Meanwhile, several thousand homes in the Downpatrick area were without electricity for a time after a digger cut through an underground cable on Tuesday afternoon.

NIE said engineering teams were mobilised after the 33,000 volt cable was damaged.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's Yvette Shapiro:
"They were critical of the response from the roads service"
BBC NI's Julia Paul:
"A blown manhole cover turned Trooperslane into a river"
BBC NI's Conor Macauley:
"The road service has been providing sandbags"
See also:

16 Jul 02 | N Ireland
15 Jul 02 | N Ireland
24 Jun 02 | N Ireland
22 Jun 02 | N Ireland
21 Jun 02 | N Ireland
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