THE PEOPLE of King’s Island had a lot of things they wanted to say to Government ministers this week, after waiting more than 48 hours for two senior officials to visit the scenes of devastation they once called home.
But Seanie Quinlivan, a father of five from 6 St Ita’s Street, perhaps said it best of all.
“Minister, there are people now, today and tonight and tomorrow who are going to have to live in those houses that are flooded, in the cold and the damp and everything else. How are they going to manage? What are they going to do? They’re going to perish with the cold. Can we have something done now? Something done today? So we can sleep in a warm house tonight. People are freezing with the cold. It’s still winter time. What are we going to do?”
But the question is bigger than anyone can currently answer in full. Hundreds of residents in the northside have no heating, no electricity, no insurance, and in some cases, nowhere else to go. With the tide seven inches higher than any ever recorded in Limerick, Seanie said one man reported seeing a “wave coming down St Munchin’s Street like a motorcar” Saturday morning.
Maria Keane, of Oliver Plunkett Street, said she has been “completely wiped out” of her home and doesn’t know when she and her three sons - aged 6, 13 and 21 - will be able to return.
“Everything is destroyed - all the children’s clothing were downstairs. The Christmas toys are ruined. One of the kids has a laptop, but I might as well throw that into the river,” said Maria, who was rescued by hero of the hour Ger Hogan on his horse and cart.
“We can’t even sleep in there. The council told us this morning the rising damp will go up the stairs. The heating has been turned off because the box got damaged. It’s awful. Your whole livelihood gone in front of you”.
Asked what she’d like the Ministers to do, she said: “We just want to know what he can do for us and how quick can he get it done. All I want to do is get back in home.”
Meanwhile, Limerickman Stephen Bradshaw who owns a mobile home company, said he has offered to loan Limerick City Council 10 mobile homes, worth €35,000 apiece, to those worst affected.