Single mother faces hotel for Christmas as home gutted
A single mother has been "left in limbo" after the River Suck burst its banks on Sunday night flooding her family home.
Christina Reynolds (35) said she had to evacuate her property in Ballinasloe, Co Galway, after the rising waters gushed through her doors shortly after 5am. Ms Reynolds and her 15-year-old son, Bailey, are now in a hotel while they wait for Galway City Council to give them the all-clear to move back in - she now faces the prospect of spending Christmas in the hotel.
Speaking to the Irish Independent from her flood-damaged home on Hopson's Lane yesterday, she said the council had informed her to start cleaning the house with bleach and hot water and to light a fire to dry the place out.
She has been told that it would be next Wednesday at the earliest before she knows if she can move back into her home with her son.
The small roadway outside her house is sealed with sandbags as a stream of shallow river water is continually pumped away.
"As you can see the water came in well above the skirting boards. We were woken up at 3am on Sunday morning and were told to get everything upstairs in the house," said Ms Reynolds.
"Everything is just thrown up there we were in such a panic. The Christmas tree is in the bedroom, there are bikes, TVs you name it, it's up there.
"We lugged the couch up as well, but we couldn't get it up quick enough, so it was wet."
Ms Reynolds says she was forced to abandon the house on Sunday night and stay on a couch with family until Tuesday, when emergency accommodation was provided.
All of her food is now on the counter-tops as she tried to clear it from low cupboards that were filled with the deluge of dirty water.
"At the moment, we don't know where we stand. We could be in a hotel for Christmas if the river floods again at the weekend, which is looking very likely.
"The council say if the river floods again we could be out of the house for eight months or have to move altogether. The whole street here has already been evacuated.
"If you look out now, you will see the place is still flooded. At the moment, we have been told to clean the house but that is easier said than done.
"We have no heating for hot water and can't boil a kettle either, because there is no electricity. It is looking fairly bleak at the minute."
Ms Reynold's 63-year-old neighbour, Mary Murray, also says she was forced to spend a number of nights on a friend's "two-seater couch" before she was offered alternative accommodation.
"I've lost so much," she said. "I've even lost my Christmas turkey and ham because the freezer went.
"I lived on this street during the bad floods in 2009 and the council said then this issue would be addressed. But it hasn't been."
The pensioner lost her two pet dogs during the last deluge.