More than 260 homes around the country have been flooded so far. Another 230 are under threat while 130 houses have been marooned according to the National Coordination Group which met again this morning.

Speaking after the meeting, the OPW said the river Shannon at Athlone had risen 5cm in 48 hours and is now 1cm above 2009 levels.

Overall the group is also warning of the effects on transport tomorrow as people return to work and schools and to take care to plan journeys amid flooded roads and curtailed rail links and to check that schools are open.

Minister for Agriculture and Defence Simon Coveney visited homes and residents living in the flooded neighbourhood of Springfields in Clonlara in Co Clare this morning.

Minister Coveney said more army personnel  in great numbers are now being deployed in Clare, Tipperary, and Athlone, to help operate pumps at night and at other times during the day to allow residents to get some rest and to return to work.

He accepted their anger was totally justified and said he would be bringing that anger straight to the Cabinet table.

He listened to a number of residents about what engineering solutions might be best used to solve the problem in the medium term and said these should be used before its necessary to get residents to move permanently from their flood-prone homes.

Homes have been evacuated with the threat of further flooding having increased because of renewed persistent rainfall and scattered heavy showers.

The band of wet weather has prompted Met Éireann to issue another warning for Cork and Kerry with up to 40mm of rain forecast to fall there throughout the day and tonight.

There are also gale and a small craft warnings in place.

Flood alerts remain in place around the country for areas close to rivers including the Shannon and Suir.

Local authorities in many counties are monitoring river levels. Flood defences have been strengthened in Fermoy and Mallow in Cork and in other areas of the country.

Members of the defence forces have been deployed to homes to operate pumps giving residents some respite from the task.

Last night, the ESB announced that heavy rainfall in the Liffey catchment area had led it to increase the flow from the Pollaphuca Dam increasing the risk of flooding to parts of Kildare.

River levels in the River Suir are remaining relatively stable at 3.8m however further rainfall is predicted over the next number of hours.

Tipperary County Council's Crisis Management Team together with the Clonmel Flood Response Team has been meeting since last night and will continue to monitor the situation on an hourly basis.

The crisis management team reconvened at 1.30pm to review the flood situation in the lower River Suir catchment area.

The immediate high flooding risk has abated in Clonmel, Cahir, Ardfinnan and Kilsheelan.

Normal January weather conditions are expected over the next few days and the situation will continue to be closely monitored. 

Kilganey residents are being advised that they can now return home and arrangements are in place to facilitate this. 

Additional mobile pumps continue to be deployed to manage the water levels on the North Quay, Carrick-on-Suir, which are currently clear of water but remain closed to traffic.

Clean-up works

€8m has been allocated by the Department of the Environment to local authorities to facilitate and support the clean-up works being undertaken.

Limerick City and County Council says water levels on the lower River Shannon at Castleconnell have increased by half an inch during the past 24 hours.

Water levels on the Mulkear River rose to 3m yesterday but have since dropped to 2.7m. Minor road flooding occurred but all roads have since reopened.

The council has deployed additional pumps to Castleconnell and Montpelier where pumping operations have been ongoing for the past month.

Flood defences are being maintained at other flood prone locations and local authority staff remain on alert to ensure that the necessary responses can be immediately activated where the need arises.

Meanwhile, the council has confirmed that the ESB is maintaining the spill rate at Parteen Weir at 470 cubic metres per second (cumecs) during today. The ESB will review the situation tomorrow morning.

Flooding advice is available on www.flooding.ie.

Rail services

Commuters, who are returning to work after the Christmas holidays, are being advised to leave more time for their journey as some rail services have been affected by flooding.

Irish Rail says that the Sligo/Dublin Connolly line is still closed between Longford and Carrick-on-Shannon due to high water levels and bus transfers are in operation.

In the South-East, Rosslare are operating between Dublin Connolly and Gorey only due to flooding in Enniscorthy. A spokesperson for Irish Rail says they hope rail services at Enniscorthy will reopen tomorrow and they will have an update this evening. 

The Western Corridor line remains flooded between Ennis and Limerick and this will remain closed for a number of weeks.