04 November 2023

Pumping operation in flood-stricken Downpatrick ‘successfully completed’

04 November 2023

A pumping operation in the flood-stricken town centre of Downpatrick has been successfully completed, Stormont officials have said.

Two pumps had been removing water from the Market Street area at a rate of 7,500 litres per minute during the operation.

Large parts of the Co Down town were flooded after heavy rainfall earlier in the week swamped many businesses.

Newry, Kilkeel and Portadown were also badly affected by flooding that hit the north east of the island of Ireland.

Calls continue to mount for significant financial aid to be made available for those counting the costs of the deluge.

Many of the business owners affected had previously been unable to get insurance cover for flood damage.

The powersharing impasse means there are no elected ministers in place at Stormont to take the lead on the response to the floods.

The pumping operation undertaken by the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service began on Friday evening and continued overnight and into Saturday.

A Department for Infrastructure statement on Saturday afternoon said: “Excellent progress has been made to remove floodwater in Downpatrick today and NI Fire and Rescue Service has now ceased pumping.

“Floodwater within the centre of the town has been successfully removed from Market Street.

“At present, the River Quoile water level is still very high, so the remaining floodwater within Downpatrick and its surrounds is unable to freely discharge into it.

“As the River Quoile level continues to fall over coming days, flood water will then be able to drain into it and naturally recede.”

Market Street and other roads in the area remained closed on Saturday evening.

The departmental statement added: “Council staff have been deployed as part of the collaborative effort involving multiple agencies, and preparations are in full swing to initiate a substantial clean-up to restore public access to the town centre.

“Council employees have been actively supporting local businesses and have already initiated certain clean-up tasks, including the operation of road sweepers and the clearance of drainage gullies.

“Tomorrow, there are plans to remove sandbags from the streets and commence power washing operations.”

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