Families trapped by flooding and more storms on the way
FAMILIES were left prisoners in their own homes yesterday after 48 hours of torrential rain caused some of the worst flooding seen in parts of the country for many years.
The worst affected areas were in the west -- and Co Galway in particular -- where homes and property were under as much as two feet of water.
And the forecast is for more of the same until the middle of the weekend.
Joe Dennison (61) from Moanbaun in Co Galway was woken at 4am yesterday by a neighbour who warned him to get sandbags out.
Mr Dennison, who lives with his wife Eileen (59) and son Paul (32), immediately barricaded his family into their home.
"I could hear the rain during the night and I knew it was bad," he told the Irish Independent. "It was very heavy and it had been starting to build up late that evening."
He said his garden was underwater and that his shed was completely flooded. The road outside was impassable by car.
Another Galway man spent the day moving cars that had broken down in the floods outside his home and been abandoned by their drivers.
"He was in his tractor all morning," said local councillor Paul Connaughton.
At nearby Two-Mile ditch, Mary Beatty battled in vain to clear flood water from the home of her mother Phil Carney, who is in her eighties and could not stay in her home last night.
"The whole road outside was flooded for about 100 metres," Mary said. "It came in down the driveway and into the house. There was about four inches of it.
"The damage is very significant. Everything that was on the floor has been absolutely destroyed -- wardrobes, beds, furniture -- anything touching the ground, the water is touching the bottom of them and seeping up the sides."
In Athlone, Co Westmeath, an elderly lady living at Leinster Terrace also had her house flooded.
"She had to have her house pumped out -- and not for the first time," said Cllr Gabrielle McFadden.
In Co Roscommon, the county council used a hoist to rescue a trapped driver after his lorry broke down in floods under a bridge.
"They couldn't get him out any other way," said Cllr Dominic Connolly.
He said the flooding in the area was "horrendous" and the worst he'd seen in a long time.
Locals in Co Galway and Co Westmeath last night said the flooding was "unusual" because it was occurring in areas that hadn't been affected in the past.