Monday 19 March 2018

Communities left to count the cost of Storm Desmond

Severe flooding around Strabane, Co Tyrone
Severe flooding around Strabane, Co Tyrone
Garry Fitzgerald and Jonathan Fitzgerald from Blennerville battle to keep the water out of St Pat’s GAA Club
The 2nd army battalion works in Ballinasloe, Co Galway, to hold back rapidly rising waters in the wake of Storm Desmond
Denny Murphy holds the flag where the hole should be on the first green on the Killeen Course at Killarney Golf Club
uzanne Gibbons with a donkey after it was rescued from a flooded field in Killorglin, Co Kerry
Winds drive waves over the wall on the coast road in Westport, Co Mayo
A seal reclines on the footpath opposite the cathedral in Ballina, Co Mayo, after being forced out of the water due to Storm Desmond
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

An elderly man is believed to have died after he was swept away by flood water.

The 70-year-old man was from Co Tyrone, but was reported missing at Monaghan garda station early yesterday morning.

His body was discovered a short time later in an area called Carraghdown, close to Glaslough, according the a garda spokesman.

It is understood that the grim discovery was at 11.25am. It is believed that the deceased's car entered flood waters and that he may have been swept away as he tried to exit the vehicle.

The tragedy came to light as communities around the West were counting the cost of storm Desmond with thousands of homes and businesses severely damaged by flood waters.

Locals and the army rallied in towns around Mayo and Galway to assist the elderly and sandbag at-risk properties with fears that the deluge of rain and swollen rivers would lead to further floods.

In Foxford close to 50 elderly residents were evacuated from the local nursing home after fears the home would be flooded.

The evacuation from Blackrock's Nursing Home began at 8.30pm on Sunday night after the River Moy burst its banks.

Elderly residents, some in their late 80s, were initially brought to the Foxford Sports and Leisure centre and from there moved by ambulance and bus to four different facilities, including three nursing homes and the Sacred Heart Hospital in Castlebar.

Local councillor Neil Cruise said the evacuation was completed by 3.30am after members of the community rallied around to assist. Their efforts ensured that the nursing home did not suffer any water damage and Mr Cruise said he hopes the residents can be brought home within days.

In Crossmolina, Co Mayo, more than 100 homes and businesses in the town were damaged by flood waters.

Yesterday, fire tenders and slurry tankers worked around the clock to pump water out of damaged premises after up to 3ft of water entered buildings.

Carmel and Enda Hiney saw their grocery store, bar, restaurant and family home all badly damaged by flood water.

The couple had only got new stock in for Christmas, all of which is now destroyed.

"There was a huge amount of damage. There was over 3ft of water in our home and we couldn't get near the business, the water was up beyond waist height," she said.

Locals in the town rallied to help the couple clean up their business but they are now trying to assess the full extent of the damage.

Ann Mulherin was left with a rental house and offices completely destroyed after the nearby water pumping station stopped when the electricity was turned off.

"The pumping station closed but we weren't warned about it. We've never flooded before and if we'd known there was a problem with the pumping station we could have taken some action. There was a total lack of foresight," she said.

Local Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary urged immediate action to help businesses.

"These are all local stores, there are no chain stores so they have no head quarters they can turn to for help. We need to put an package in place for businesses similar to the homes assistance package. They urgently need it," he said.

As towns and villages dealt with the damage caused by the floods, some areas remained under water. In Galway locals in Craughwell were evacuated from their homes after the Dunkellin River burst its banks.

In Ballinasloe, Portumna and Claregalway where dozens of homes were flooded, the army worked to hold back the rising waters.

Carrick-on-Shannon, Ballinasloe and Athlone remained at risk from flooding while Ballina and towns along the River Moy in Mayo were also at risk.

Irish Independent

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