January 31: Flood anniversary stirs up bad memories

Members of the Concerned Corbally Residents group Gerard Hogan, Aileen OConnor, Ger OConnor and Anne and Alfred Mercieca. We need to know that our concerns will not be ignored by councillors and TDs, they write
We are a small group of residents who were very badly affected during the winter floods of 2014. None of us will ever forget the terror of seeing the wall of water coming into our property and homes. The trauma and fear will stay with us for the rest of our lives. This dreadful memory is resurfacing again, on the anniversary of the event. Residents have only recently moved back to their houses.

We are a small group of residents who were very badly affected during the winter floods of 2014. None of us will ever forget the terror of seeing the wall of water coming into our property and homes. The trauma and fear will stay with us for the rest of our lives. This dreadful memory is resurfacing again, on the anniversary of the event. Residents have only recently moved back to their houses.

Despite our dreadful predicament at the time, not one city councillor or TD came to visit us. When it was mentioned to some, they claimed they did not know we were flooded! Yet, across the river, politicians of every hue waded around in their new or borrowed wellies, exchanging damp handshakes.

Did they not think that, logically, the floods extended across the wetlands? Did they not see it?

A tsunami of water came through breaches in the bank of the Abbey River, across the wetlands, and straight into our gardens and homes. Our small united group met, and former councillor Denis McCarthy was asked to attend. He in turn arranged a meeting with a city engineer. We met as a group, and debated the issues involved.

A letter was written to Conn Murray, manager of Limerick City and County Council, on February 11, 2014. It included the personal experiences and devastating consequences for the residents. This was acknowledged on February 18 and the acknowledgement included names to contact. Our experience is that on contacting an individual, one is automatically referred to someone else. However, all were extremely courteous and tried to be helpful, in their limited capacity. Relevant Government departments were written to as we looked for information and assurances regarding preparedness in the event of a recurrence of more floods, but to no avail. The mantra seemed to be “I nose nutten”.

It is probably difficult for anyone not in the situation that we were in, to feel and understand the shock, panic, and utter devastation we were experiencing.

Years of effort in creating a home were destroyed in one full sweep. Home and personal items ruined.

Worse still, not knowing the status of protective barriers being erected is now adding to the fear. Events concerning the flooded areas well recorded in national and local newspapers, especially regarding St Mary’s Park, and King’s Island author Denis O’Shaughnessy, wrote at length about Athlunkard Street [in the Limerick Leader]. Yet not one word was written about the residents on the Lower Corbally Road. That is, starting at Cooney’s Car Sales, now a car wash facility, upwards.

Apart from the fear of a repeat of last year’s experience, there is another serious concern. King’s Island is being protected with flood barriers. If a surge of water hits these barriers, it will save King’s Island, thankfully, but is likely to be re-directed to us, the residents on the lower Corbally Road.

Erecting flood defences is now a European project, and will take years. It is also dependent on which areas are prioritised, and funds available. This is not very reassuring for us.

We need to know that our concerns, as residents, will not be ignored by the elected councillors, and TDs.

Aileen O’Connor

for Concerned Corbally Residents, CORBALLY, LIMERICK CITY