Sunday 25 February 2018

'My whole life's work has been washed away' - solicitor Katherine O'Doherty

Solicitor Katherine O’Doherty in her ruined office basement. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Solicitor Katherine O’Doherty in her ruined office basement. Picture: Caroline Quinn

Ian Begley

Vital archives and valuable legal documents belonging to Carndonagh solicitor Katherine O'Doherty were destroyed when the Glentogher river burst its banks and flooded her offices and home.

Ms O'Doherty said her office basement was ruined when 10ft of water crashed through her cellar doors.

"I had so many archives and documents left there from when I bought the premises in the 1980s, which were all washed away," she told the Irish Independent.

"And those that didn't enter the river were steeped in dirty water for several hours."

She added: "My basement is completely destroyed.

"When the water came in it just kept on rising - I even had to clean bits of grass from the ceiling."

Katherine’s garden was like a swimming pool. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Katherine’s garden was like a swimming pool. Picture: Caroline Quinn

She said that any files that weren't washed away were badly damaged by the waters.

Ms O'Doherty added that the under-floor heating system in her basement was destroyed, which cost €12,000 to install.

Ms Doherty said that since her office is so close to Glentogher river, she was unable to get it insured.

Her phone and internet connection were also ruined by the flood.

She will now be forced to spend thousands of euro to restore the offices.

"It's going to cost so much to repair everything and clean up the place," she said.

Ms Doherty's home was also badly damaged in the flooding.

"My garden and lands around my home are also flooded. I had flood defences on the site, but there was nothing I could do to stop it from coming into my house.

"The water burst over the bridge and bashed through the walls.

I was looking at it coming through at around 12.30 at night and could do nothing but head to bed.

"My garden and lands around my office were like a swimming pool and still have a lot of debris and all sorts of things left behind," she said.

"I built an extension some time ago to my premises which is on stilts, but it was no match for the 10 feet of water that came in on Tuesday.

"Nothing like this has ever happened before."

She is thankful, however, that she still has a roof over her head.

"It's my office where I work and practise as a solicitor, but at least I'm not homeless.

"People are in a far worse situation than myself and I hope the Government can do all they can for them," she said.

Irish Independent

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