Sunday 18 February 2018

Family battling to save home surrounded by floodwater

Joe Quinlivan with family pet Lucky. Photograph Liam Burke/Press 22
Joe Quinlivan with family pet Lucky. Photograph Liam Burke/Press 22
A distraught Geraldine Quinlivan. Photograph Liam Burke/Press 22

David Raleigh

Geraldine Quinlivan broke down in tears as her pet dogs Lucky and Sandy were brought to her car on dry land and away from their home which is surrounded by floodwater.

As she waited anxiously for another expected deluge to swamp her sandbagged home in Springfield, Clonlara, south-east Clare, the mother-of-four had a simple message for the Government.

"We are living in life-threatening conditions. Something needs to be done for us now," she said.

"If Enda Kenny or Simon Harris are listening, they really will have to sort this out in the new year because we really cannot go through this again."

As the ESB confirmed it was increasing the flow along the lower River Shannon to 440 cubic metres per second - which, along with increased rainfall from Storm Frank, is expected to put properties and roads in Springfield under water again - an exhausted and sobbing Ms Quinlivan said she was "absolutely distraught".

The area is located only 1.5km from the Shannon, and when increased water is released by the ESB from the Parteen Weir, the deluge has nowhere to go but through Springfield as it lies along the lowest point of the banks of the river.

Clonlara was flooded in 1995 and 2009, forcing residents to flee their homes for emergency accommodation.

"What we are looking for is a flood defence to be built around our homes," said Ms Quinlivan.

"We are also looking for an embankment to be built about a mile behind our homes with a sluice gate and pumps.

"It's in the flood risk and management study, and has been accepted as a solution to our problem."

Ms Quinlivan left home last week after the stress of the situation became too much, taking her teenage son with her so he could study for his Leaving Certificate exams in peace.

Yesterday, she ferried food and other supplies to a waiting boat provided by the Army to be transported to her husband and three sons who remain holed up in their barricaded home.

"It's simply no longer acceptable that we have to live in those type of conditions," she said.

"We're facing the possibility of having four members of the one family actually homeless now because we don't think we are going to save our house this time. This nightmare continues."

The Quinlivans own four homes in Springfield. Two have been completely flooded, while the others are sandbagged and patrolled 24 hours a day by family members keeping watch on the rising tide.

Up to six feet of water surrounds many houses in Springfield.

Irish Independent

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