Prince Charles meets flooding victims in Derry
Residents remain in temporary accommodation and 11 people rehoused in caravans
Prince Charles during a visit to the YMCA at Drumahoe, Derry. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Prince Charles has met victims of August’s severe flooding in Co Derry during a visit to Northern Ireland.
More than 500 properties were flooded and 60 roads closed in the Derry area after two-thirds of August’s rainfall fell in just eight hours.
In the worst affected areas, the villages of Eglinton and Drumahoe, some residents remain in temporary accommodation and 11 people have been rehoused in caravans.
The prince visited Eglinton Community Centre, which was used as an emergency help centre during the floods, and met residents, farmers and businesses affected by the flooding.
The centre’s manager, Debbie Caulfield, showed Prince Charles a display of photographs illustrating the extent of the damage.
“It must have been terrifying,” Prince Charles said.
He also spoke to volunteers, emergency services and officials who were on the ground during the floods, and who assisted with the clean-up.
Ann Lamberton from Eglinton has been rehoused in a caravan while her flooded home is repaired.
“He was lovely, he said how sorry he was for what had happened and asked me how the repair work was going.
“I was so excited to see him coming, it shows they haven’t forgotten about us.”
“We are a very small dot on a map,” said her niece Gail Ritchie, “but to us Eglinton’s very important and what has happened has impacted so many families here.”
Prince Charles also visited the YMCA in Drumahoe, which was also badly affected by the flooding, and viewed its damaged sports pitch.
One person who declined to meet him on his visit was Sinn Féin mayor of Derry and Strabane Maoliosa McHugh. She cited his role as colonel in chief of the Parachute Regiment, whose soldiers were responsible for the Bloody Sunday shootings in Derry in 1972.
“While I have supported meetings between Sinn Féin and members of the British royal family, I believe that meeting him in Derry is premature given the ongoing and unresolved sensitivities around the legacy of the massacre carried out by that regiment,” she said.
It was Prince Charles’ second visit to Ireland this year. In May, he and his wife Camilla visited the Seamus Heaney Home Place in Bellaghy, Co Derry, and paid tribute to the dead of the Easter Rising and the First World War in Glasnevin.