Monday 5 December 2016

Stricken families claim they have been 'fobbed off' by councils as floodwater to peak

Kevin Doyle and David Raleigh

Published 12/12/2015 | 02:30

Paddy Kavanagh stands in his front garden as volunteers place sandbags around his house in Golden Island, Athlone
Paddy Kavanagh stands in his front garden as volunteers place sandbags around his house in Golden Island, Athlone
An aerial view of flooding in the Shannon basin between Banagher, Co Offaly and Parteen Co Clare
Peter Madden carries some gas cylinders through the floodwaters in Ballinasloe, Co Galway
An image from the Copernicus satellite shows the level of devastation around Athlone town
Members of the Irish Army placing sandbags around a house in Castleconnell
Members of the Irish Army placing sandbags around a house in Castleconnell
Christine Reynolds and her son Bailey dedcorate their Christmas tree in Christine’s bedroom in Ballinasloe
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.
Michael Crowley cleaning up after his shoe shop was flooded in Bandon, Co Cork

Flood-stricken families have accused local authorities of abandoning them as floodwaters look set to peak in the next 48 hours.

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Water levels continued to rise along the River Shannon yesterday, while the River Lee in Cork was also on the verge of bursting its banks again.

A ‘status orange’ weather warning is in place for today, with Met Éireann predicting heavy rain will sweep in from the Atlantic and work its way across the country.

Chairman of the National Co-Ordination Group John Barry says concern is growing that the defences used in recent days to keep areas dry may not cope with the rising water levels.

Asked whether any families had been advised to move out of their homes ahead of the expected surge of floodwaters tomorrow and Monday, he said: “It might well come to that.”

But one mother-of-two, Shirley Mulcahy, whose family has been left stranded by floodwater in Clare, said she would not leave her home unless she was able to secure a safe environment for her sons, who have been diagnosed with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.

The family are fed up with being “fobbed off” for years about the flooding conditions that arise like a plague almost annually, Ms Mulcahy says. She said her home and her nearest neighbours, who were cut off by the floods, had continuously taken the brunt of the release of water from the ESB-operated Parteen Weir.

“Something needs to happen. This is going on too long. The council and the ESB don’t have to live here. They can’t keep doing this to us,” Ms Mulcahy said. “We’re the forgotten people.”

Irish Independent

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