Saturday 21 April 2018

'We're the forgotten people - we don't matter'

David and Shirley Mulcahy
David and Shirley Mulcahy
Kayaker Mark Scanlon takes advantage of high floodwater flowing through Limerick City
Kevin Madden, Pat O’Brien, Miriam McCormick, Noel Madden and Louis, Emily and James McCormick, in Shravokee, Co Clare

David Raleigh

A mother-of-two, stranded by flood-water in Clare, said she will not leave her home unless she is able to secure a safe environment for her sons, who have been diagnosed with Autism and Asperger's Syndrome.

Surrounded by several feet of water, which is contaminated with sewage and farmland dirt, Shirley Mulcahy said she was unaware of "flood plains" when she and her husband bought their three-bedroom bungalow in 2001.

Since they moved in 15 years ago the family have seen flood after flood destroy neighbouring homes, forcing them to evacuate to hotels.

The family are fed up with being "fobbed off" for years about the flooding conditions that arise like a plague almost annually, Ms Mulcahy (42) said.

She said her home and her nearest neighbours, who are cut off by the floods, have continuously taken the brunt of the release of water from the ESB-operated Parteen Weir "to save the rest of Limerick city".

Ms Mulcahy and her husband, David, who have two sons, Alex (10) and Mark (18), with special needs, said the family go through "enormous stress" when the floods return every few years, as it throws their boys' routines into disarray.

A change in their environment can lead to them experiencing coping issues.

"I'd prefer to get help from the council to allow us to stay in the house where the boys have a familiar routine," she told the Irish Independent.

The Springfield area experiences severe floods at times when the ability to hold water in the ESB-operated Parteen Weir dam reaches capacity.

The ESB says it has no choice but to release significant volumes of water down the Lower Shannon.

"Something needs to happen. This is going on too long. The Council and the ESB don't have to live here. They can't keep doing this to us," Ms Mulcahy said.

"We're the forgotten people - we don't matter."

Irish Independent

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