Saturday 24 February 2018

'We're nervous that we'll be faced with flooding again'

Bridie Willers outside her home at the height of the flooding. Photo: Andrew Downes
Bridie Willers outside her home at the height of the flooding. Photo: Andrew Downes
Inside the flooded house of Bridie Willers at Grannagh, Ardrahan. Photo: Andrew Downes
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

A Galway woman who has returned to her home one month after being evacuated due to floods has told of her ongoing anxiety about future flooding.

Bridie Willers and her family were forced to leave their home in Ardrahan, Co Galway, on St Stephen's Day after flood waters breached the defences.

The family finally returned to their home on Saturday, but Ms Willers said they are now living in constant anxiety about the future.

"The water is gone from the house and it is drying out, but we really don't know the extent of the damage yet.

"Most of our things we had put up on stilts away from the water but it's still hard to quantify what has been ruined - floors and skirting boards and then things you don't realise at first."

Ms Willers, a former Fine Gael councillor, said she and her neighbours were in "a state of limbo".

"The floods are gone from the house, but there are acres and acres of floods outside the front door. There are just lakes of water. We don't know what to do. Do we start refurbishing the house just for this to happen again?

"We are living with the nervousness that we will be faced with the same thing again. Nobody out there can say it won't happen because they have all been proven wrong in the past. It's the same thing every year now."

Ms Willers said the past two months had been extremely difficult for everyone in the area and that locations were still flooded.

"It's a very hard time for people. Every home from Kilchreest to Gort, we've all suffered the same sort of anxiety. We have been out of the house since St Stephen's Day but we've been battling the floods since the start of December with Storm Desmond.

"At the start, we were so busy with the sandbags and pumping and keeping the floods out but now we're back to reality with the clean-up and the cost."

Ms Williers said that she and other families in the region wanted to see action from the Government, instead of just promises.

"Government after government has ignored the problem. We need some real action to be taken. I don't want to find myself in this same position later this year.

"How many times do we have to go through this?"

Irish Independent

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