O’Neill praises response to Storm Frank

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Rivers Minister and East Tyrone MLA Michelle O’Neill has thanked the hundreds of workers from Rivers Agency, local councils, Transport NI, NIFRS and the drainage authorities, who worked tirelessly to ensure the impact of Storm Frank was kept to a minimum.

The storm battered Northern Ireland, including parts of Tyrone, with gale force winds and heavy rain on Tuesday night, causing floods and road closures.

According to the minister, staff responded to requests for assistance, monitored river levels, cleared gullies and grilles, kept roads open and distributed sandbags after more than 270 roads were blocked by floods and fallen trees.

“Approximately 4200 sandbags have been issued, grilles and gullies cleared and around 80 calls for assistance responded to. I want to thank every single member of staff across all the agencies who have worked tirelessly to reduce the risk to homes and businesses.

“The continued heavy rain over recent weeks has meant there has been little opportunity for the waterlogged ground and higher river levels to recover. However, Rivers Agency has joined other agencies to work around the clock.

“Although the worst has passed, further rain is forecast over the next few days, so we will remain vigilant. I urge any residents and business owners who think they are at risk of flooding to view the Rivers Agency flood maps on DARD’s website to access information which will help them understand the possible impact. Our engineers and technical staff will remain on the ground checking river levels, clearing drainage grilles and checking sandbag stores.

“We would advise farmers to move any sheep or cattle that are still grazing on flood risk land to higher ground,”