Monday 22 January 2018

‘There’s two and a half feet of water in my stables and in my yard’ – Horse trainer speaks of flood devastation

Bedding and feeds have been lost as a result of the flooding on Thomas Cleary's premises
Bedding and feeds have been lost as a result of the flooding on Thomas Cleary's premises

A horse trainer has spoken of the scale of the devastation the floods have caused on his business over the last month.

Tom Cleary from Carrick-O-Brien outside Athlone told Morning Ireland, “All of my facilities are under water at the moment and have been since December, 4 – I had to move all my horses and I have them stabled here [at the Curragh] since.”

Luckily the trainer has been able to keep the swollen flood waters from his house.

“It’s not in my home – we have [the floods] kept out by sandbags and pumps – the pumps are constantly going there, we’ve been lucky enough to keep it out of the home,” he said.

His days are spent travelling to and from the Curragh and battling to keep the flood waters doing any more damage to his property.

“I have to travel up and down everyday to look after the horses to ride them out and do everything that has to be done with them, so it has affected me a lot.”

He has estimated the damage to his property could run up to €40,000.

“The water stretches out over a wide area there’s two and half feet of water on my gallops at the moment and two and a half feet in some of my stables and in my yard,” he added.

The horse trainer said that he thought Enda Kenny and Simon Harris "were shocked” by how bad the flooding was when they visited Athlone.

Mr Cleary said that when the floods happened in 2009 they were told “that it would be a once in a hundred years [event] but it has come back again, six years later.”

He has applied for help from the Red Cross, but with no flood insurance available and flooding looking likely to occur again he is considering at the possibility of moving.

“If I got any help at all I would move - even if they start the work which they say the will start in 2016, it will take a long time to control it enough to keep the water from where I am.

“There needs to be a lot of work done with the Shannon, dredging to take out a lot of the dirt that has gathered there over the years and formed small islands along the Shannon which were not there 20 and 25 years ago,” he concluded.

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