Monday 19 February 2018

Floods: Mother and children sleep together in bed in sitting room

A section of the two kilometer line of sandbags along the Shannon river at St Mary's Park, Limerick. Picture Liam Burke/Press 22
A section of the two kilometer line of sandbags along the Shannon river at St Mary's Park, Limerick. Picture Liam Burke/Press 22

Aishling Phelan

A mother and three children are sleeping together in a bed in their living room after floods devastated their home in Limerick.

Three weeks after the damage, and the awful sleeping situation has continued as St Mary’s Park was one of the worst hit areas in the city.

Mother-of-ten Diane Ryan said her family has no choice but to sleep in front of the fire for warmth at night.

“It’s freezing. The only heating we have is the fireplace. It’s grand and warm at times, but we might not get coal every day,’’ she told the Limerick Leader.

She has been sleeping downstairs in a double bed with three of her children – Donna (28), who currently has a lung infection, Sarah (15) and Kieran (11).

‘‘The walls are freezing with the cold and full of damp. Rain was coming through the roof. I have nothing in my kitchen, only a sink with a bucket underneath,’’ she added.

Flood water crept up to the third step of the staircase in her two-bedroom home on St Munchin’s Street.

Most of her children and her husband were forced to leave home and find alternative accommodation.

Limerick city centre was the scene of some of the worst flooding ever experienced in the region a couple of weeks ago.

The 51-year-old said her husband has been forced to move out due to health complications and is now living in Tipperary with relatives.

“We have no insulation in the attic, no central heating, never had done.

‘‘We’re used to it in a way, but this is worse than anything we’ve ever experienced and I’ve lived here for 25 years. I wouldn’t want to leave here in a million years,’’ she insisted.

The family are surviving on donations of bags of coal and meals provided by volunteers each day in the King’s Island community centre.

The family of 12 have always lived in the house but the upstairs bedrooms are no longer inhabitable.

Mrs Ryan’s 19-year-old son Ricky also sleeps in the downstairs room on a couch.

His other siblings have found alternative accommodation, including his 22-year-old sister who is five months pregnant. 

Mrs Ryan said she hoped to be moved into one of the neighbouring houses but the council boarded up the vacant homes at either side of her.

She has been offered an apartment on either Broad Street or Cecil Street.

Hundreds of people across the county have donated money, clothing, food, fuel and household supplies to help flood victims.

ost of the residents on the north side of the city have decided to remain in their homes.

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