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Letterkenny A&E unit closed for three hours by floods

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Media captionLetterkenny General Hospital did not admit patients to A&E on Tuesday evening due to flooding at its reception and administrative areas

A County Donegal hospital's A&E unit was closed to new patients for three hours on Tuesday night due to flooding, but has now resumed normal service.

Letterkenny General Hospital did not admit patients to its emergency unit between 20:00 and 23:00 local time on Tuesday following "torrential rain".

A hospital statement said a "very low level of flooding" had affected the reception and administrative areas.

Last July, floods destroyed 40% of the building, which opened in March 2013.

The previous flood damage affected 70% of patient services within the new hospital building and repairs to the state-of-the-art facility cost an estimated 30m euros (£24m).

Image caption Last year, a major clean-up operation took place after flooding caused millions of euros worth of damage to the recently opened building

On Tuesday night, the hospital's car park and grounds were flooded as firefighters worked to pump water away from outside the building.

Emergency admissions were diverted to Sligo Regional Hospital and Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry.

However, patients who had already been admitted to Letterkenny's A&E, clinical areas in its emergency department and the hospital's services in general were not affected.

On Wednesday morning, the hospital's management said the overnight flooding in the car park and roadway outside the hospital has "partly abated", but emergency services are still at the scene "in anticipation of more heavy rainfall".

They have warned the public to "use extreme caution" if coming to A&E.

The hospital's general manager, Seán Murphy, said: "I want to acknowledge the hospital staff, the ambulance service, the staff at Sligo Regional and Altnagelvin Hospitals, our local GPs, the fire service, the council and the Gardaí (police) for their cooperation.

"We regret any inconvenience caused to patients and their families.

"Although services are now back to normal, we would like to remind the public to keep the Emergency Department for emergencies and to contact their GP or GP Out of Hours services in the first instance."

The statement added that an investigation into the cause of the flooding has begun.

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