Over 540 homes and more than 600 businesses around the country were flooded during last winter’s extended period of severe weather.
A report on the official response to last year’s flood relief efforts found over 30 towns and villages experienced major flooding, including Bandon, Co Cork; Athlone, Co Westmeath; and Castleconnell, Co Limerick, with 543 houses nationwide damaged by flood waters. Over a quarter of the total — 155 homes — were located in Cork.
It also revealed that 606 businesses were flooded, with Cork traders again the worst affected with 135 business premises in the county suffering damage.
Across Ireland, 601 houses were evacuated — the most in Co Mayo at 90 — while almost 2,400 homes were cut off by flood waters but suffered no damage.
The report by the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management said 1,714 residences had been under threat of flooding during last winter’s storms.
However, it added: “In all, fewer properties were flooded than during the last severe flooding event in 2009 despite water levels being higher in a number of locations.”
The report claimed many more homes and businesses would have been flooded but for the coordinated relief record. Almost €1.8m in humanitarian assistance was paid out to 561 households. The biggest amount — €281,000 — was paid to 78 householders in Cork.
More than half of all payments were between €100 and €1,000, while 31% were between €1,000 and €5,000, with 76 households receiving sums in excess of €5,000.
Almost €99,000 was spent on providing 426 tonnes of emergency supplies of fodder to 158 farmers, while another 44 famers were paid €93,350 for the loss of livestock or cost of moving animals.
A further €656,569 was paid to 328 farmers who suffered fodder losses after their lands were affected by floods.
The overall cost of damage of the country’s road network caused by the severe weather was estimated at €106m.
Local authorities were provided with special funding of almost €18m for the clean-up operation.
Electricity faults caused by the weather resulted in disruption to supplies to almost 350,000 customers for short periods, while 23,000 customers were placed on boil water notices.
The report revealed that the highest water levels ever recorded on almost half of the country’s gauging stations occurred during last winter’s storms.
A total of 37 of the 75 stations operated by the Office of Public Works on the country’s rivers and lakes network had their highest-ever readings.
Rainfall over the winter months was 189% of normal levels expected, which made it the wettest winter ever recorded in Ireland.
The report said the rainfall which occurred during the winter 2015-2016 was exceptional and widespread, with Ireland hit by a series of Atlantic storms including Desmond, Eva and Frank.
Gernapeka in Co Cork recorded the highest ever monthly amount of rainfall at 943.5mm, while the highest daily total occurred at Keenagh Beg, Co Mayo, with 165mm of rainfall.
Five stations in Cork and Kerry broke their previous monthly rainfall records.
The wettest conditions were in Co Cork where nearly all weather stations reported rainfall levels which were at least 300% of normal levels.