Council’s response to storms helps avert ‘major disaster’

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Larne Council has been praised for its “first-class” response to the severe storms that brought flooding to parts of the borough.

A co-ordinated multi-agency approach – spearheaded by the local authority – was put in place to combat effects of the high tides and fierce winds that played havoc with coastal communities.

And with the help of Roads Service and a number of other emergency services, the council was able to minimise the impact of the flood waters on domestic properties and businesses.

An estimated 1,500 sandbags were distributed by the council between Friday and Monday.

On Friday morning, the local authority took the decision to close Larne promenade due to safety concerns.

Coastal car parks were also closed to protect the public and vehicles from the predicted high tide and coastal surge.

Carnlough was the worst hit area of the borough, as tidal waters breached the sea wall on Friday, covering roads in debris including stones and driftwood from the beach.

Main Street in the village was closed to traffic for a time on Friday and again on Monday, with police advised motorists to avoid the area.

But Sinn Fein MLA Oliver McMullan said the “terrific team effort” of the various agencies helped avert a “major disaster” in the village.

He added: “I would like to congratulate all the emergency services who were involved in this operation at Carnlough. Without their efforts, the whole of the harbour area would have been flooded.

“And I want to single out Larne Council for particular praise, as it truly excelled itself with its prompt and efficient response.”

Mr McMullan also paid tribute to his party colleague, Coast Road Councillor James McKeown for his involvement in the operation.

He said: “Cllr McKeown was present in Carnlough right throughout the stormy weather, helping to co-ordinate the response.

“But it is sad that no other Coast Road councillors turned up to show their support for the people of Carnlough.”

Mayor of Larne, Cllr Maureen Morrow said: “The community has been well served by the council staff who have worked tirelessly to minimise the impact of these challenging weather conditions.

“Sandbags were provided to properties in Carnlough ,Glenarm, Drains Bay, Larne town and Islandmagee. Council staff distributed additional sandbags on Monday to shore up defences put in place on Friday and to ensure that as many vulnerable properties as possible were protected.”