Mother's tears as family faces being apart at Christmas
A mother broke down after hearing her family may have to stay in a hotel room for Christmas or be separated from each other over the festive period.
Liz Hogan, from Clonlara, Co Clare, her husband Mike and the three youngest of their four children were evacuated by Clare Civil Defence by boat after floodwater struck.
Stuck in a Limerick hotel, the distraught mother said the stress of their ordeal was made worse when they found out Clare County Council had not been able to source accommodation for the family tonight.
A Champions Cup rugby match between Munster and Leicester Tigers in Thomond Park on Saturday night has led to little availability across Limerick's hotels.
Fighting back tears, she explained: "I just don't know where we are going tomorrow night so this is where we are at. I don't know what else to tell you."
Liz said she had "loads of offers" from people to take her kids, "but it would mean the children all in separate houses and everyone separated around Limerick".
Becoming emotional, she added: "I'm trying to keep the family together and in the same routine for school."
Liz said that as the family were being evacuated, they got word they had no place to stay and went back inside the house until emergency accommodation could be sourced. Liz's eldest son Mark (18) is studying for his Leaving Certificate, while her daughter Aoife (12) "just wants to be at home for Christmas".
She said her younger son Sean (17), who is in fifth year, was distraught after his geography project was damaged as they were been evacuated. Liz's eldest daughter Sarah (26) has been staying with her grandmother, who only has room for one extra person.
"Sarah stayed on a couch in my mother's house but she has joined us at the hotel now," said Liz. "It's noisy here. I don't think there are any other families hit by the floods staying here. Some of our neighbours were evacuated but they are able to stay with family.
"My mum doesn't have enough room for us all. My sister has three kids and she has no room. If it means I have to separate the kids, it means putting them in three different houses," Liz explained.
"I fear we could be in a hotel for Christmas. We are worried that if the flood gets worse, then how long before it goes?"
The family were holed up in the former Jury's Inn hotel in Limerick for nearly a month in 2009 when another flood hit the Lower River Shannon.
"If that's the case again, we are looking at being out of the house for Christmas."
Becoming emotional again, she said: "I don't even have a Christmas tree up yet."