As almost 1,800 members of the Defense Forces moved to help storm-hit communities, a leading Protestant bishop claimed there was no one coordinating the response to the floods across Ireland.
Revered Paul Colton, Church of Ireland bishop of Cork, Cloyne, and Ross, also said there are some immediate situations of emergency need which just can’t wait for grant aid forms to be filled out and processed.
Colton, who has launched a flood fund appeal to help people in Bandon and Midleton in Co. Cork, praised those working on the frontline, but said there appeared to be little coordination at national level.
He said while local authority workers, emergency services and Defense Forces personnel have responded well, people were looking for somebody who was in charge.
“There seemed to be little coordination, little sense that someone was in overall charge,” Colton said.
Around Ireland, stories abounded of people struggling on their own to beat the floods havoc.
Elaine Taaffe, 26, from Dundalk, gave birth to a baby boy in the back of a car as the winds and rain of Storm Frank swirled around it. She delivered her baby Kai a week early after her father Harry drove her to the hospital when her labor pains came at 6 a.m.
“Elaine was giving birth in the car with the two doors wide open and the wind howling and the rain lashing around us,” Harry said.
In Co. Clare, neighbors living in a flooded community helped to detect two men who were on their way to rob evacuated homes in a stolen army boat. The inflatable Defense Forces dinghy was stolen from a farmhouse in Springfield, Clonlara, on Sunday night.
The men were eventually cut off by two locals in another boat, as the thieves crossed a flooded field on their way towards unoccupied homes left vacant by families evacuated from the area. The two would-be robbers escaped and the boat was returned to the army.
Near Labane, Co. Galway, Ann Connolly, 74, lost her home and “everything” she owns in the floods.
“I’m bitter and I want answers,” she said. Her remote house was destroyed by flood waters reaching up to four feet seven inches.
Connolly tried in vain to fight back the rising floods since December 17, but was forced to admit defeat on Christmas Day.
It’s the fifth time her farmhouse has been flooded since 1990 and as it’s uninsured, she can’t replace anything she has lost.