Monday 23 October 2017

Local forced to build own defences

Flood damage at Raphoe, Co. Donegal
Flood damage at Raphoe, Co. Donegal
Clean up at Raphoe, Co. Donegal, business premises following recent flash flood. Picture: Declan Doherty

Greg Harkin

THE historical east Donegal town of Raphoe has been continuously inhabited since the 6th Century when St Colmcille founded a monastic settlement there.

But in the last 50 years the town has been repeatedly flooded.

The newspaper archives of the 'Donegal People's Press' are littered with flooding reports from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, as well as the past two decades.

The 1,154 inhabitants have held public meeting after public meeting, and Donegal County Council has been trying to come up with a strategy to deal with the problem.

The flood of 2007 was so bad that local businessman Frank McBrearty Snr decided to build his own flood-prevention measures.

"The council should have carried out this work," said his son Frank McBrearty Jnr, who is an independent councillor for the area.

"But they didn't. We lost buildings in a huge flood in 1993 and after 2007 my father spent his own money doing something about it on the small river, which was causing all the problems. However, that just covers part of it and we had so many new developments during the boom, which have put enormous pressures on the drainage system.

"But money during the boom wasn't spent in towns like Raphoe and there's no money there now. The town feels vulnerable."

A report for the council was produced in 2007 after the last huge flood.

A consultation process on the next steps began three months ago.

Irish Independent

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