Saturday 10 December 2016

Devastated farmers rally together

Published 12/12/2015 | 02:30

Farmer Michael Macken pictured standing with at the entrance to this farm yard which is surrounded by the River Shannon floodwaters at Carrickobrien near Athlone.
Farmer Michael Macken pictured standing with at the entrance to this farm yard which is surrounded by the River Shannon floodwaters at Carrickobrien near Athlone.

The devastated farming community in Athlone have come together to help their neighbours who have been left stranded in up to 6ft of flood water.

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The Irish Independent travelled with dairy farmer and Westmeath County Councillor John Dolan and other volunteers while they delivered sandbags to farms and private residences yesterday.

Over 100 homes are now inaccessible with cars and 4x4's and can only be reached with large tractors.

In some areas the roads have been engulfed in some 6ft of water.

Mr Dolan says it is important to interact with those who are cut off from the town.

"People are feeling very isolated out here in the rural areas.

Rising

"The water is rising and is continuing to do so. If we get the weather they are forecasting and it hits at the wrong time many of these people will be forced to evacuate entirely.

"All we can do is get out there and help," he added.

Michael Macken (75) and his wife Pat (75) have both been left stranded on their rural farm.

"There is six feet of water out there and we are currently like an island," said Michael.

"If the water gets any higher we will be in serious trouble. We are used to floods here so thankfully we had been able to move the livestock to higher ground before the waters swept in. But we still have over 30 acres completely submerged," he added.

Micheal added that they, like most of the surrounding areas, are left with little to no facilities due to the deluge.

Irish Independent

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