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Wednesday 1 October 2014

Locals rally round family left homeless by storm

Published 10/01/2014 | 02:30

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John O’Connor clears up some of the debris outside his house in Co Clare. Picture: EAMON WARD
John O’Connor clears up some of the debris outside his house in Co Clare. Picture: EAMON WARD

A YOUNG family who had to be rescued from their flooded home were left distraught after their two pet dogs drowned.

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John and Leslie O'Connor, from Quilty in Co Clare, had to be carried from their home along with their two children, Caitlyn (8) and Aaron (6), after flood water rushed in leaving them stranded upstairs.

The family now fear they may never be able to return to their home, after the sea reclaimed a large tract of land just behind it.

"We can't go home at the moment, the sea is too close to the house now. It used to be 150 yards away from us, there was a football field in between. But now it's 20 yards away, the whole field has just been reclaimed. We won't get back until they find a way to push it back," said Mr O'Connor.

The house, garden and both family cars were extensively damaged by the waters. Pet Jack Russells Lucky and Trixie did not survive.

"I heard it backing up the pipes at about 5am and when I walked passed the front door I could see the water coming into the house. We were grabbing blankets trying to stop it but there was no point. We had to stay upstairs until the tide receded. Everything was ruined, it's like a bomb site now," explained John.

The coastguard was on the scene quickly but Mr O'Connor asked them to help two elderly neighbours in nearby bungalows before returning.

DROWNED

"We just kept telling the kids it was only a drop of water and everything was okay. We were grand upstairs.

"We had the dogs in a kennel at the back, but one of the coastguard crew checked and they were gone. He found one drowned and I found the other two days later," he added.

The family have found temporary accommodation but the children are anxious to get home.

More than 100 volunteers have gathered in Lahinch, Co Clare, over the past two days to assist in the clean-up. Lahinch promenade is set to reopen today, a week after it was hit by storm-force winds and sea surges.

Irish Independent

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