Limerick family flee home as floodwater rises

Aine Fitzgerald


Aine Fitzgerald

Laszlo Szlatki and his daughter Adrienn, 2, wade through the flood water. Picture: Michael Cowhey
A FAMILY have been forced to abandon their home as flood water continues to creep up outside their property and seep up through their kitchen floor.

A FAMILY have been forced to abandon their home as flood water continues to creep up outside their property and seep up through their kitchen floor.

Laszlo Szlatki, his partner Viktoria Kiraly, and their two-year-old Adrienn Szlatki, 2, have spent the past three weeks watching their Holycross home take a battering by the relentless wind and rain.

The Hungarian native, who purchased the property in 2010, has spent €1,000 on pumps in an effort to keep the flood level down. With no let up in the weather, he fears it will be at least a month before his family will return home.

“I have three pumps working now. I borrowed one on condition that if it breaks, I have to replace it, the other two are mine. They are operating the pumps 24/7,” said Laszlo.

“We had to move out - we will be out for over a month I’d say. We are staying about five miles away from the house,” he added.

According to Laszlo, since he and his family - who are originally from Hungary - moved into the house at Ballingirlough, Holycross, Bruff “nothing like this has 

“We went home for a holiday at the end of January for two weeks and we came back and all this was here.”

Over the past fortnight, the fire brigade have called to the house on a number of occasions.

“It is like a bucket now. Nothing will soak anything away. I have to pump to the other side of the road which is quite dangerous. You can see it destroys the road as well,” said Laszlo.

At its worst, the water “was just on top of the laminated floor, half an inch or so” in the kitchen.

The insulation under the floor, he said, is soaking wet “like a sponge” and “it will keep the house cold”.

“We had to move out because Adrienn is only two and a half - I don’t want to risk her health,” said Laszlo.

A friend of the family has given them a place to stay. Their neighbours, they say “couldn’t be any better”.

According to Laszlo, when they bought their house in 2010, they were never informed about any potential risks in relation to flooding.

“Nobody said anything that it was a flood hazard or anything. It was only four bare walls when we bought it and we did it up and spent all our savings on it, about €35,000 to €40,000 just to do it 

“Last year they built that house just behind us, the bungalow. Before they built that there was a slope on that site so that could take pretty much all this water,” said Laszlo who has lodged a complaint with Limerick County Council for granting planning permission for the house.

“A lot of water soaks through the ditches. In the field above us there is about three or four foot deep water and that will slowly come down. We are stuck because that is the lowest point of the whole area.”

“It is up to the council to know things like this and they shouldn’t give permission for that house to be built there.”

Laszlo and his family came to Ireland in 2007 and lived in Limerick city for a time before moving to the county.