Monday 23 September 2019

Families want answers as flood destroys their homes

Damage: Pat Cronin surveys the scene in Coonagh, Co Limerick, where five homes were flooded. Families have demanded answers as to what prompted the houses to be damaged. Photo: David Raleigh
Damage: Pat Cronin surveys the scene in Coonagh, Co Limerick, where five homes were flooded. Families have demanded answers as to what prompted the houses to be damaged. Photo: David Raleigh

David Raleigh

Families whose homes were hit by flooding have demanded answers as to what led to the "disaster".

Five homes were flooded in Coonagh, Co Limerick, and homeowners evacuated by boat to a nearby hotel after a scheduled high tide on the River Shannon breached an embankment at a flood defence operated by the Office of Public Works (OPW) last weekend.

On Friday, OPW workers carried out maintenance work at a sluice gate where the high tide breached the riverbank.

However, the high tide meant they could not repair the sluice.

The OPW said a "temporary measure failed".

Pauline Maxwell, who tried in vain to save her home as the floodwater struck around her bungalow finally gave in when council workers told her to leave the house for her own "health and safety".

"My home is gone, everything is gone," she said holding back tears.

Ms Maxwell said her family had rebuilt the house "brick by brick" two years ago after it was flooded when drains at a landfill site became blocked.

The river raged on into Na Piarsaigh GAA Club.

Former Na Piarsaigh chairman Timmy O'Connor said the club invested "almost a million euro here putting in state-of-the-art facilities".

Now, the club's playing pitches, training pitches, floodlights and electrical generator station are "under water".

"I'm involved here since 1983. It's hard to see the whole thing go up in smoke," Mr O'Connor said.

Irish Independent

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