The extent of the damage caused by the Christmas Day flooding in south Wexford continues to unfold.

IFA president Tim Cullinan visited Wexford on Wednesday morning (29 December) to see the carnage caused by three inches of rain (nearly 100mm) in a few hours made worse by high tides across the south coast of Wexford.

A tractor moves through Bridgetown in Co Wexford after heavy rain on Christmas day cause extensive flooding. \ David Parsons

“There’s serious damage done, there’s a couple of feet of water in fields still.

There was an agreement in place for the last few years with the county council and the OPW that remedial works were required, to build up the banks, and for silt removal in the waterways. It never happened, and that has contributed to the current problems.

Farmers will need to be compensated for those losses

While it’s too early to assess the full extent of losses farmers will experience from this flooding, Cullinan holds that that was at least partially preventable.

“Farmers will need to be compensated for those losses,” he said. “We’re assessing the situation on the ground today and making a call for aid for affected farmers.”

Flooding in south Wexford, where hundreds of acres are under water following the heavy rains on Christmas Day.

Fields and bridges destroyed

IFA county chair Jer O’Mahony from nearby Bannow said: “Having worked in Duncormick, I know all the farmers along the Inis, a lot of that area is under tillage.”

“It’s impossible to be certain how much winter corn is under water at the moment, but one farmer told me he alone has about 70ac completely flooded.

“There’s a lot of tillage in the area from Duncormick across to Kilmore Quay. Much of the affected land was reclaimed from the sea under a famine relief scheme heading for two centuries ago. It’s mostly below sea level at high tide, but it has never flooded before.”

O’Mahony was told on St Stephen’s morning that there were 20 bridges down around the county. “The county council needs to urgently survey the condition of all bridges in the county, as there could be structural damage to any of them that would render them dangerous,” he said.

A former grain store in Bridgetown in Wexford flooded on Christmas Day.\ David Parsons

Heavy traffic such as milk lorries and meal trucks are particularly vulnerable. Rural roads are in very poor condition across the county, and need massive investment to be made safe.

Where measures must be taken to protect animals from flooded tanks, farmers are working closely with local authorities in moving water or slurry from tank to tank.