Thursday 22 March 2018

Community constructs 250-metre pump in effort to avoid worst of Storm Frank

Gerry Naughton and Shane Nolan (on right) with the water pump. Photograph: Hany Marzouk
Gerry Naughton and Shane Nolan (on right) with the water pump. Photograph: Hany Marzouk
Shane Nolan and Gerry Naughton with the Super water pump line at Newquay, Kinvara, Co. Galway. Photograph: Hany Marzouk
Deirdre Reynolds

Deirdre Reynolds

A flood-ravaged Clare community has rallied together to construct a massive drainpipe in a bid to beat Storm Frank this week.

Residents of Murtyclough in the north of the county came out in force on Sunday night to cobble together a 250-metre drainage system after a lake spilled over and into a nearby home.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, a member of the DIY rescue operation told how neighbours are now taking turns on night watch in hopes of preventing more houses from being swamped by rising flood waters today.

Local agricultural contractor Shane Nolan explained: "Basically what has happened is the N67 has flooded.

"One house flooded and another was about two millimetres away from flooding.

"We didn't know what to do - so we got the loan of a huge pump and built a makeshift drainpipe to try and pump the water out to sea before it gets into any more houses in the area.

"It's been three days of constant work," he added. "But the neighbours whose homes were saved are delighted. Hopefully we can keep it out in the coming days."

Up to twenty locals toiled for four hours to painstakingly lay the quarter -kilometre pipe in 6ft sections at the weekend.

Local man Gerry Naughton - who's also at the coalface of the community effort - said: "I'm living here 30 years, and I've seen places flooded that I've never seen flooded before. It's nearly a 24-hour job for a few of us.

"The OPW have said that they'd give us small pumps - but small pumps aren't going to do anything.

"In fairness, Clare County Council come out every day with sandbags. We've sandbagged all the houses in danger and redirected traffic away from the area as best we can. This is a real community effort."

Around 300,000 gallons of water an hour are now being swallowed by the tractor-powered industrial pump.

Although his own family home is not in danger, Mr Nolan said he was happy to give up his holidays to wade in to help elderly neighbours. "All the guys volunteering here are just doing it because of the neighbours," he said.

"At one stage, we thought we were fighting a losing battle.

"But the water level has dropped about six inches since Sunday - that's a lot when you're trying to keep it at bay."

As the sixth storm of the year continues to hammer the west coast however, businessman Mr Naughton said the townland wasn't out of the woods just yet.

He said:"Murtyclough Lake flooded before in 2009 and has flooded loads of times.

"We don't mind doing the work - but it's a bit annoying when it happens again and again.

"The government spent millions doing signs for the Wild Atlantic Way - but there isn't a word about the Wild Atlantic Way now that it's flooded."

Irish Independent

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