‘What I witnessed here on Tuesday night will live with me forever’

Burnfoot bungalow owner saw his 7ft wall collapse onto the village’s main street

Darren Donaghey was watching television when he began to hear the gullies outside his home rattle. Minutes later his entire home, which he has spent the past four years renovating, was overcome with flood water.

His bungalow in the centre of the village of Burnfoot ended up more than two feet under water on Tuesday night.

An angry Mr Donaghey, whose father previously owned the Foot Inn Bar next door to his home, says he has been left to fend for himself.

On Thursday he went to the local social welfare office to seek emergency funding and was given €150.


“What good is €150 to me? I only have the clothes on my back. Everything I have made in the last few years I have put back into that house.

“We were promised all sorts – skips, humidifiers, the lot. But I haven’t seen any of that. What is stopping the council from coming around to our houses and asking us directly what we need to help ourselves.”

Mr Donaghey and two friends continued to sweep water from the bungalow on Thursday. Outside on the street lay a water-drenched sofa, bits of furniture, lampshades, a microwave oven.

Boundary wall collapsed

Darren says he watched as one half of his 7ft boundary wall collapsed with the force of the water onto the village’s main street.

“Thankfully there was nobody under it or they would have been killed or seriously hurt. It goes to show how powerful the water was. What I witnessed here on Tuesday night will live with me forever.”

Darren said he will hopefully stay temporarily with his dad who lives in Fahan.

The other down side is that his children, who live with their mother in Derry, cannot come and stay with him at weekends now like they usually do.

“My life has changed forever. I have spent every penny I have had on this home and making a future for myself here. Now it’s gone, and I just don’t know what I’m going to do. I keep hearing that there is a fund for people like me, but I have not seen any of it yet.”

Just 100 yards to the rear of Darren’s house is the Lios Na Greine housing estate which was left devastated by the floods. Almost every house on the small estate was hit.

Liam Hegarty said he knew his family was in trouble when he saw the level of the water in the village as he returned from taking his wife to a driving lesson in Buncrana.

In trouble

“I said to the wife ‘we’re in trouble here.’ I just knew it. When we got to the house the water was already coming in, and I put up sandbags at the back door. But within minutes the place was under a huge amount of water.

“I had carried the two smaller kids out, but as I did so the planks of wood from my wooden floor in my hallway were floating out onto the street. It was chaos.” .

Liam’s oil tank was toppled over in his garden, and his car was also destroyed in the floods.

While he met Minister of State at the OPW Kevin "Boxer" Moran and Minister for Transport Shane Ross on Wednesday night, he fears the initial publicity of the freak incident will die away and families like his will be forgotten.

“We were headline news and we were on TV when this happened, but we’re already becoming old news.

“I have been here all day cleaning up, and nobody has called to me apart from yourselves. I am insured and I desperately hope I am covered, but there are so many people around here who are not.Who is going to look after all those people?” .