Plasterer forced to abandon grandmother’s house in floods

Clonlara, Co Clare resident describes moment he had to choose which house to lose

Minister for Defence Simon Coveney  talks with Clonlara resident Geraldine Mason. Photograph: Arthur Ellis

Minister for Defence Simon Coveney talks with Clonlara resident Geraldine Mason. Photograph: Arthur Ellis

 

“I just couldn’t physically do it, and my own house was coming under pressure.”

Sitting in a boat in a flooded field, Jason Quinlivan described the moment when he abandoned his 86-year-old grandmother’s home.

Deluge

“I had to let one go. I had to let one house go,” he said, shaking his head. “It was an awful call to make.

“I had to make an executive decision. It was three o’clock in the morning.”

Mr Quinlivan told his grandmother, Nora Mason, who in recent years was moved from her house to a nursing home, about the damage.

“She got very upset” but “she understood.”

Mr Quinlivan and his exhausted father Joe (62) got their first full night’s sleep in four weeks on Sunday after the Army arrived at their marooned home to take over night-shift duties.

“The Army put me to bed . . . They were great, absolutely brilliant,” Jason said.

“I’ve seen the floods in 2000, 2003, 2006, the big one in 2009, in 2014, and then this big one again . . . I’m only 28 years of age.

Beds lifted

His father added: “The chest waders I have on me are my morning clothes, my evening clothes and my night clothes. You just can’t afford to take them off.”

Feeling fresh after his first full night’s sleep since the flood waters arrived on December 9th, Jason, the eldest of Joe and Geraldine Quinlivan’s four sons, was back manning pumps and ferrying people in and out on the boat. “You’d like to save all the houses but you can’t.”