'It's a disaster, we never dreamed that it'd be this bad' - family whose pub destroyed by Storm Frank floods
Published 30/12/2015 | 12:53
"IT is going to be a tough New Year after two floods in just three weeks."
West Cork pub owner, Donal Crowley, was trying to maintain a brave face as he surveyed the worst flood to hit Bandon since the disastrous deluge of 2009.
"This is even worse than December 5," he said as he surveyed the wreckage inside his premises, Brady's on Oliver Plunkett Street.
"It goes from two and a half foot deep at the front right down to over five foot deep at the back of the premises."
"I have two sons standing over six foot tall and the water is over their chests in some parts of the pub."
"It is a disaster inside - I just don't know what to say."
The Rivers Bandon and Bridewell both broke their banks following the torrential rainfall from Storm Frank.
Major access roads to Bandon were also cut as flood waters left many routes impassable.
To make matters worse, Donal's premises was wrecked in the 2009 deluge - and he finally thought it safe to resume his lucrative food trade nine weeks ago.
"We had only started up serving food again six weeks before the flood hit on December 5."
"We'd that cleaned up and prepared for the Christmas and then this happened last night. We knew from the water levels we were going to be hit but we never dreamed it was going to be this bad."
"I reckon it is the worst flood to hit Bandon since 2009. Judging by the water levels inside the pub, it is a lot worse than three weeks ago."
As convoys of water tankers desperately tried to remove flood waters from North Main Street directly outside his front door, Donal was continuing a weary vigil with his sons, Damian (38) and Donal Jnr (36), to try and protect the pub and begin the clean-up.
His other two children, Sara (30) and Conor (37), also helped overnight.
Across the road, the Munster Arms Hotel was hit once again by flood waters.
It was an exasperating experience for owner Don O'Sullivan who had repeatedly offered to pay for the heightening of walls and the installation of one-way flow systems in nearby drains to protect North Main Street.
Three weeks after his hotel was hit by flood waters before their busy Christmas season his premises was again besieged by flood waters as his 40 strong staff battled to ensure they could handle the New Year's Eve trade.
"It is a total disaster - something has to be done because it cannot continue like this," Mr O'Sullivan said.
OPW Minister Simon Harris visited Bandon on December 14 and vowed that everything possible would be done to expedite a long-delayed flood defence scheme.