GAA club in Cork hailed for opening floodgates to protect housing estate

Micheal Martin pledged the government will support the club to repair their pitch and club house.

Rebecca Black
Thursday 19 October 2023 15:22 BST
Parts of Ireland have been hit by flooding (@realLiamMac/PA)
Parts of Ireland have been hit by flooding (@realLiamMac/PA) (PA Media)

A GAA club in Cork has been hailed by the Tanaiste for opening their floodgates to protect a nearby housing estate.

As the waters rose in east Cork and west Waterford during Storm Babet on Wednesday, officials at Sarsfields GAA Club took the decision to minimise damage to houses.

In a statement on their Facebook page, the club praised the “heroism” of the pitch committee and volunteers, adding the main pitch “essentially became a flood plain in order to relieve the flooding to the immediate Riverstown area, Orchard Manor and surrounding businesses”.

The side, which won a county championship last Sunday, added: “We won a county, lost a pitch but hopefully saved a part of the Glanmire community.”

We will make sure that we work with the club to help them in any way possible

Micheal Martin

During Leaders’ Questions in the Dail, Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty praised the community spirit in Cork, singling out Sarsfields.

Tanaiste Micheal Martin responded, pledging the government will support the club to recover from the damage.

“It’s been very distressing for many, many people. We’re deeply concerned about what has transpired, and I want to thank all of the volunteers, the civil defence, the local authorities, defence forces, in terms of the work that they did, and also to Sarsfields GAA who incidentally won the county last Sunday versus Midleton,” he said.

“They opened up their pitch to save a housing estate from flooding, and we will make sure that we work with the club to help them in any way possible.

“That’s the kind of intervention that makes a huge difference to a community, quick decision-making and we applaud that action. It’s the club of the late Teddy McCarthy, with an outstanding tradition of serving their community.”

Mr Doherty said it was fortunate that no one lost their lives in the flooding.

He pressed Mr Martin on the urgent need to ensure emergency funding is provided to local authorities involved and to individual families and businesses.

He asked the Tanaiste to provide assurances that all the necessary funding will be made available without delay, pressed him on delayed flood relief works and work with Met Eireann on more localised flood warnings.

“Those who have seen their homes, their businesses devastated by the flooding want to know that they won’t be made to jump through hoops, to go through all of this red tape to access emergency funding,” he said.

Mr Martin said there is a fund of 10 million euro in place via the humanitarian assistance scheme for those with properties directly affected by flooding.

“We will work with the local community in relation to this, and the Department of Social Protection is liaising on the ground with the people affected to make sure they have access to the help that they need,” he said.

“The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment will administer an emergency humanitarian flooding scheme administered by the Irish Red Cross, available for small businesses with up to 20 employees, for community and voluntary and sporting bodies.

“We will examine the situation, assess it and government meets next week, and we’ll see what additional works and supports we can do for the community.”

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