Canal flooding caused by vandalism

Vandalism was to blame for flooding which occurred in Athy last Tuesday night, August 14. That is according to Waterways Ireland engineer Rosanna Nolan.

Vandalism was to blame for flooding which occurred in Athy last Tuesday night, August 14. That is according to Waterways Ireland engineer Rosanna Nolan.

The Gardai were called to the scene at around 9pm as the Grand Canal flooded at William Street.

Lock-keeper Noel Cross had to close the lock gates at the Stradbally Road before he could attend lock 27.

Ms Nolan explained the incident occurred because someone “opened the racks” on at the Stradbally Road lock. Racks are paddles which control the lock gates.

“Someone opened three of the four racks on the lock,” Ms Nolan told the Leader. “We would never open so many at the same time.”

She said that this sort of thing “happens regularly in Dublin” but not so often elsewhere.

“It did happen once before in Athy,” she added. On that occasion, dredging work was being carried out on the canal. Because that part of the canal had been drained, there was no flooding.

To combat the problem of vandalism, padlocks have been put on the mechanism in Dublin. And Ms Nolan said the same thing would now be done in Athy.

“All we can do is put locks on the racks to stop it from happening again.” She said that taking this measure would mean passing through the locks would take more time for canal users. However, it is a necessary step to prevent future problems.

“We’ve ordered locks. It takes a couple of weeks for them to be made because they have to be specially measured and fitted,” she said.

She hoped there would not be any repeat incidents in the meantime.

- Liam Godinho