Tuesday 27 September 2016

Watch: Heartbroken widow tells how 12ft of water 'from tiny stream' engulfed family home

'It is terrifying, I am heartbroken and we are getting no help at all'

Published 10/12/2015 | 02:30

Catherine Lynch pictured with her house at Carrowkeel Co Sligo .
Picture Credit Frank Mc Grath
9/12/15
Catherine Lynch pictured with her house at Carrowkeel Co Sligo . Picture Credit Frank Mc Grath 9/12/15
Catherine Lynch with her son Sean in a boat at the flooded entrance to the basement of their home in Carrowkeel, Co Sligo
Claire Jennings looks out at the flood waters a which surround her home at Ballyfree, Sligo. Picture Credit:Frank Mc Grath 10/12/15

A WIDOWED mother of three has spoken of her "complete and utter devastation" after 12ft of flood water engulfed her family home. Residents in county Sligo have taken to using boats in order to navigate the 20-foot deep floodwaters around their homes.

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Catherine Lynch (58) said she hasn't slept since Sunday night when Storm Desmond caused a "tiny stream" that runs through her property to swell so much that it now covers more than six acres of surrounding land of her home in Carrowkeel, Co Sligo. In some places, the floodwaters measure over 14ft deep.

The stagnant deluge, now polluted with sewage and kerosene and "floating dead rats," has cut off heat and, up until yesterday, power to the property.

Mrs Lynch's ground floor basement and garden have been destroyed by the floodwaters with the upper level of her home just inches away from the murky waters. 

Domnick Lynch's seaboat floats on the floodwaters in his shed at Carrowkeel Co Sligo .
Picture Credit Frank Mc Grath
9/12/15
Domnick Lynch's seaboat floats on the floodwaters in his shed at Carrowkeel Co Sligo . Picture Credit Frank Mc Grath 9/12/15
Tomasz Paluszkiewicz makes his way through the floodwaters by boat at Ballyfree, Sligo. Picture Credit:Frank Mc Grath 10/12/15

Read more: Thousands of litres of raw sewage pour onto the streets of Athlone as locals battle filthy flood waters

She fears another storm will cause the water to rise further. "I haven't slept a wink," she told the Irish Independent. "It is just terrifying. I am heartbroken, and we are getting no help at all. We have been onto the council and fire brigade, and they all say the same thing... what can we do?

"We have lost so much already. My late husband Sean left us an old Jag. It isn't worth much but it had massive sentimental value. Now it has been destroyed. So much has been destroyed and we have just found out that our insurance company won't cover us."

Ms Lynch insists the land, which has been in the family for generations, has never flooded to such an extent before. "As far as we can tell this problem is man-made," she said.

Ms Lynch said no authority had offered her family any help.

"We have had no heat or hot water. We didn't have power until today and we even had to fix that ourselves," she said through a veil of tears.

This morning independent.ie witnessed panic-stricken residents desperately trying to pump the murky deluge, now contaminated with raw sewage and kerosene away from their properties. 

There was no-one from Sligo County Council or any fire or rescue crews in the area. 

A spokesperson for the council has said they are dealing with the issue and are tending to areas based on their severity.   

However, locals say that is simply not enough. 

“Look at us here we are using boats to get around," said Dominic Lynch.

“In my garage there is a seaboat, and it is floating at near roof level," he added.

“We need to get the council down here to clear the drains and sinks holes to get this water away before its too late.

“It's an absolute joke.  What was a tiny little stream has now turned into a 6 acre 20ft deep lake.”

In Donegal, residents are bracing themselves for another onslaught of raging floodwaters tonight just days after the county suffered some of its worst flooding in recent memory.

In Lifford where the River Finn meets the River Mourne to create the River Foyle, businesses and residents are on high alert.

The quiet border town suffered from a deluge that lasted from Saturday evening to Sunday night.

Local publican Geraldine Vambeck has said the surging water was the worst that she had experienced during her 27-years of business.

Ms Vambeck said her pub, the Central Bar, was forced to close its doors early on Saturday night as the water continued to rise.

"We could see in the car park that the water was rising and rising," she said. "We had to go and buy sandbags, and we put them at the door, but it didn't really help. It was like the water was streaming through the walls."

Irish Independent

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