Friday 21 October 2016

Tearful mother-of-four asks Minister Coveney: 'Who is going to mind my home tomorrow when I go back to work?'

David Raleigh and Geraldine Gittens

Published 03/01/2016 | 18:56

A distraught Geraldine Quinlivan pictured earlier this week. Photo: Liam Burke/Press 22
A distraught Geraldine Quinlivan pictured earlier this week. Photo: Liam Burke/Press 22

A mother-of-four who has spent the last three and a half weeks watching her home succumbing to floodwater confronted Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney on his visit to her area today.

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Exhausted Geraldine Quinlivan, who fears for her sandbagged home in Springfield, Clonlara, south-east Clare, told the Minister that Springfield residents need action now.

Visibly distressed, Ms Quinlivan described the stress her family has been under since Storm Desmond.

"The water rose nine inches yesterday and my son is down there all night along with the army and civil defence."

"I'm actually distraught."

"I'm awake all night listening to the rain, wondering and hoping that my home is safe."

As the rain began to fall again today, Ms Quinlivan broke down just feet from Minister Coveney who visited the area today.

"It's very, very bad at the house today. My brother and his wife and their son could also loose their home again today."

"This is not a new thing. It's just not good enough anymore. This happened in 1995, 2000, 2006, 2009 and 2015."

"We are at breaking point here now."

Ms Quinlivan, who was evacuated last week, requested of the Minister that a mud bank be constructed between the River Shannon and her flooded home, and her neighbour's properties, which have all been engulfed by several feet of water.

"Basically we are looking for solutions and this can never happen again," she said.

"I discussed it with the minister, the need for the bank and the flood defences around our home, and I told him we are not waiting for 2020, and we want it done as soon as the water goes down."

"I told him I have a deep concern about the fact that my husband and my sons are going back to work tomorrow, and who is going to mind my home tomorrow, so he said they are going to review that."

"We'll wait and see what comes out of it. But we want him to go back now and discuss all this with the Cabinet on Tuesday."

"He didn't promise us anything specifically."

Meanwhile, the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) said it was maintaining the water flow through the Shannon's Parteen Weir at 470 cubic metres per second but that it will be review the flow tomorrow.

"The levels in Lough Derg may reach 2009 levels in the coming days and, as a result, the flow through Parteen Weir may increase to those levels," a spokesman said.

"This level of water flow will have increased associated flooding to land and property in the vicinity of the Shannon downstream of Parteen Weir including the areas of Springfield, Montpelier, Castleconnell, Mountshannon (Annacotty) and the University of Limerick."

The ESB said other areas between the Parteen Weir and Limerick may also be vulnerable to flooding due to local issues.

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