Army called in as Limerick faces ‘unprecedented’ floods

Scores of people evacuated from inundated homes across city

Sat, Feb 1, 2014, 15:16

The Army has been drafted into a Limerick to help battle “unprecedented” floods in the city.

Scores of people have been evacuated from their homes across Limerick City after “unprecedented” floods hit this morning.

Large parts of the city and county are under water after the River Shannon burst its banks in several areas.

The worst affected locations include Kings Island (St Mary’s Park/Island Road and the Lee Estate), Athlunkard Street, Dock Road, Condell Road, Corbally Road, Honan’s Quay, Clancy Strand, and Longpavement.

Another area badly hit by the floods, Athlunkard Street, saw houses and cars submerged.

Ger Hogan has meanwhile become a hero in his native city. Since early this morning the father of seven has been rescuing stranded victims of the floods from their washed out homes to safety - all on board a cart driven by his mare Peg.

From 9am, Ger and Peg began carting neighbours and family and friends in St Mary’s Park to dry ground.

The north side estate is under four feet of water. By 2.30pm Ger and three-year old Peg had rescued around 100 people.

“The tide was terribly big. I’ve never seen it that big. People living here in St Mary’s Park have never seen anything like this,” explained Ger.

“The water is up past Peg’s belly. It is scary. I’m doing my best. It’s all I can do. I can’t do any more,” Ger added.

We’ve been going in and out of homes collecting people and bringing them into town, or to dryer ground so they can walk into town. I must have ferried 100 people or more already,” he said.

“I’m going since 9am. Peg got tired so I have replaced her with another horse. Then I’m going to give him a break and get a third horse.”

Ger, 57, said he has kept horses all his life and was glad to help out.

“I’ve horses since I was a child. They’re all kept well fed and they are kept in stables -- not left out in the weather.”

He added: “I’m just getting a mouthful of tea now and then I’ll go out again in a few minutes.”

Meanwhile, mother of one Edel Hogan, who lives on the street - a few feet from a stretch of the River Shannon - said her home was under a few feet of water.

“I feel terrible. I’m disgusted. We got no sandbags from the council. Myself and my partner and my daughter have no place to sleep tonight,” she said.

The two-bedroom house is located below the river’s level and had no chance when the waters burst the banks.

“Everything is destroyed. I left my home as the water was at the fourth step on my stairs. It came in my sitting room door early this morning.”

Ms Hogan said her daughter Alana (6) suffers from asthma and that their home - which she only moved into last August - would have to be gutted.

Ann Pickford (68), was in bed downstairs at her home, also on Athlunkard Street, when more than eight feet of water swamped her home at around 7am.

“I’m just so shocked. I heard the water. I got up out of bed. Within a few seconds it was up to my bed. My couch was floating in the sitting room,” she said wiping tears away.

“Everything is gone. Our houses are gone,” she added.

Her late husband William died after a heart attack 14 years ago just after the last big flood hit their home on Christmas Day.