Sunday 17 December 2017

'We can't leave our home - you'd be at your wits' end'

Gertie Dunning outside her home in Carrickobreen in Athlone. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Gertie Dunning outside her home in Carrickobreen in Athlone. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

A farmer, who is among the worst hit by the recent flooding, said that he has no faith in the Government - despite being visited personally by the Taoiseach this week.

Mikey Dunning and his wife Gertie have been heroically fighting the water that has engulfed them for more than a month now in Athlone.

However, the grandparents said that they were struggling to go on.

"I am not in the best of health," said Mikey.

"I had cancer and I am not able to work. The doctors warned me not to lift or do anything," he added.

"The civil defence came the other day and took my blood pressure. They told me to do no more and to go straight to the doctor. She told me that it is all down to stress and annoyance."

Read more: Buy me out, pleads weary mother as house flooded a third time

The couple have been touched by tragedy in recent years but are determined to hold out and protect their home.

They lost their son David to cancer shortly after he saved the family home from flooding in 2009. He was only 33 years old.

Prior to this, their son Noel passed away after an accident on his way to work in Kildare. It would have been his birthday over Christmas.

Gertie said that they have been stuck at home since December 4.

"It is very difficult. You would be at your wits' end," she said.

"We can't leave because we have to make sure the pump keeps going. We haven't seen the grandchildren at all over Christmas or anything."

Taoiseach Enda Kenny met the couple this week and was welcomed into their kitchen to survey water surrounding their home.

"He is defending all of the State bodies," Mikey said.

"He is coming up with statistics but the ordinary man knows that it is all bulls***," he added.

"It should be considered criminal to lock a man and woman and thousands of others into their homes. We are stuck here.

"We would be lying on the couch at night watching telly and if one of us goes to bed the other one has to stay up to watch the pump because if that goes, we are gone.

Read more: They man the pumps, mop the water and pray for some sort of respite

"That can't be good for man or woman."

Both Mikey and Gertie said that they aere now struggling to cope.

"I have only done the house up and spent more than €20,000 on it and now it'll be good for nothing if the water gets to it," said Mikey.

"It's a pure disaster."

Irish Independent

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