Limerick flood victims call for help fell on deaf ears

Cllr Joe Leddin examining flood damage to one of the houses at Prospect
Cllr Joe Leddin examining flood damage to one of the houses at Prospect

LIMERICK City and County Council is being urged to review its out of office emergency system after residents in Prospect, who experienced flooding to their homes after heavy rainfall last week, were put through to operators in Cork for assistance.

Despite calling the emergency number and trying to explain the situation, residents claim no help was offered after calling the Cork emergency number. Two homes in Prospect suffered flood damage in the heavy downpour.

Labour councillor for City West, Joe Leddin, insists that the current practice of phoning an emergency number that is not answered locally, but 60 miles away, is creating “huge problems”. Cllr Leddin alleged that operators in Cork have no knowledge of Limerick or the geographical area, and he is calling on senior management at the local authority to review this service.

“The reality is that when people are contacting this number they are in a crisis situation and require urgent help and assistance from the Council. Last Saturday after extremely heavy rain I received a number of calls from people living in the Prospect area of the City as their homes started flooding,” said Cllr Leddin.

“Requests for sand bags and for relevant personnel to visit the area fell on deaf ears,” he claimed.

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According to Cllr Leddin, this is not the first time issues have arisen with the current emergency system. He maintains it is simply not able to respond fast enough when serious problems occur and believes the emergency contact system needs to be based locally within the City and County Council.

“It is just not practical to have local residents trying to explain problems to a faceless person in Cork who simply has no understanding or experience of Limerick. I believe it must be based locally so that those answering the calls are some way familiar with geographical area and more importantly will return calls to those contacting them to advise on exactly what response is been organised to resolve the issue reported,” he concluded.

There was no comment from the local authority at the time of going to press.