AFTER seeing their rented homes flooded for the second time in a month, a group of Askeaton families are demanding that Limerick County Council find permanent houses for them.
Five houses in Deel View are among a number of properties in the Quay area of the town that were flooded during high tide last weekend. This followed a similar incident at the start of January where the river Deel overflowed its banks and came into the houses.
Mother-of-two Margaret Harty said her 18-month old daughter was hospitalised for five days after she contracted a viral infection following the flooding at the start of January. She blamed this on the dampness that resulted from the flooding.
“Everyone wants to get out of here. Every morning we are waking up and you’re dreading that the water will come in again,” she said.
Ms Harty claimed she has been on the waiting list for a council house for four years.
Following the floods in January, her washing machine, fridge, couches and flooring had to be replaced. A new floor was only put down last week but following the latest flooding at the weekend this too was badly damaged and will have to be replaced.
“The smell was desperate. I had to take the floor up and the smell off it was very bad,” she said.
“After the last flood, all the kids’ toys were ruined. (My daughter) had her Nintendo DS left on the ground and it got damaged so I had to throw it away. All their dolls had to be thrown out too.”
Sandbags have been placed at the entrance to her house and the other four houses on the small terrace. However, they offer little consolation.
“I am frightened to stay here in case it comes in again,” she said.
Next door, Michael and Rosemary Quilligan pointed out their wood laminate flooring which was buckled and was missing a large section in the centre of the living room as a result of water damage. “The water came in the back door,” said Mr Quilligan.
They too are angry at what they see as a lack of support from Limerick County Council for their plight. “Not one person knocked on our door and asked us if we needed help,” said Rosemary whose two boys are aged seven months and four.
“The county council don’t seem to be doing anything for us. We are six years waiting for a house,” she added, claiming the long wait was due to anti-Traveller discrimination.
Another resident, Thomas Harty, said that all the electrical appliances in his house are unusable as a result of flood damage. The floor has been taken up and sandbags are piled up at the front door.
“I had a child sick after the last flood because of the dampness,” said Mr Harty who claimed he has been living in the house for two years and has been on the council’s housing list for six.
Saturday’s floods also affected a number of houses in the town’s West Square, an area which local councillor Kevin Sheahan said has “never experienced tidal flooding before”. The pumphouse of Askeaton swimming pool also sustained some damage on Saturday which resulted in the pool being closed for the rest of the weekend. However, it has since reopened.
Meanwhile, in Adare, the N21 was closed for a time on Saturday morning when the Maigue overflowed at the bridge on the Limerick side. One witness reported seeing a motorist being lifted to safety in the shovel of a mechanical digger after her car became stranded in the flood. There was also significant flooding around the entrance to Adare Manor and at the Station Road in the village.
In Foynes, which experienced severe flooding at the start of January, the newly reinforced flood defences, put in place at a cost of €60,000, held strong last weekend.