Shannon flood victims fear arrival of more flood water
‘We don’t feel the flooding is over. I don’t want to have to carry my wife down the road again in the floods’
“We are not able to cope with flooding any longer. I don’t want to have to put on the waders again.” Photograph: Getty Images
Funding for flood-hit areas of Athlone and the midlands announced on Tuesday has been welcomed by those who were forced to flee their homes due to flooding.
The Government will spend an additional € 260 million on flood-relief schemes across the country. However, one man whose home in Athlone has been hit by flooding twice in recent years said he feared the arrival of more flood waters.
Paddy Kavanagh said the level of the Shannon needed to drop by two feet to alleviate flooding. He and his wife Pat spent Christmas two years ago in a hotel after flood water and raw sewage flowed into their home at Carrickobrien on the outskirts of Athlone.
While welcoming any funding for works to be carried out, he remained cautious, and said works carried out to date had not been tested.
“As far as I’m concerned,whatever work is being done on the river Shannon has not been tested. It’s wonderful work being done, but it’s not tested. Last year we had a benign winter, and this year is not too bad. There is a whole lot more work to be done. If the heavens open and we get an inundation of rain it will be tested.
“We don’t feel the flooding is over. We are not able to cope with flooding any longer. I don’t want to have to put on the waders again. I don’t want to have to carry my wife down the road again in the floods. We are in our 70s. We shouldn’t be suffering. Our house was destroyed twice.
“I am saying to the authorities, ‘test it out and come back with the results, and tell me it is going to work’.”
Mr Kavanagh spoke to The Irish Times as Athlone-based Minister with responsibility for the Office of Public Works , Kevin “Boxer” Moran, confirmed funding for areas across the country hit by flooding.
Horse trainer Tom Cleary, whose land close to Athlone has been badly affected by floods, said the announcement was welcome.
“There is always a fear there [that there will be more flooding] until the work starts properly. We are led to believe that machines will be moving in on the river in March. Anything that will be done there is a major help to anybody along the Shannon.
“It has been a long battle, but they are now listening. We kept the pressure on the whole time. So many people were affected, particularly in 2015 and the start of 2016. We are more positive now.”
He said he was hopeful that the days of people leaving their homes due to flooding would become a thing of the past.