SURROUNDED The Connolly home in Bushfield, Roundfort is completely surrounded by water. For more pics see donalkelly.com. Pic: Donal Kelly
‘UTTER devastation’ is how Roundfort man Stephen Connolly describes the latest series of flooding to his parents’ home following Storm Desmond.
His parents Jimmy and Eileen have endured flooding in their home at Bushfield in 2006 and to a lesser extent in 2009, but now they are faced with the total destruction of their home, where they live with son Gary.
The family are currently exiting and accessing their home via boats and a canoe and dressed in oil skins and wellingtons.
“They’re living in a foot of water, they don’t want to leave. They are unbelievably strong people who have worked all their lives to make it a family home. My parents are living in water next to the farm, God knows what could be floating around,” explained Stephen, who is frustrated at what he says is the lack of decision making regarding flooding since 2006.
Mr Connolly told The Mayo News that he is ‘appalled’ with the lack of action since his parents’ house was first flooded.
“After the flooding in 2006 there were promises given by government that there was funding in place to provide drainage to resolve the situation. After lots of talking and promises, in my opinion nothing happened.”
Stephen says promises were again made for drainage relief after the 2009 flooding but to date, nothing has materialised.
“There was funding in place to do local drainage and other measures that could prevent this from happening, but work was prevented for many reasons, one reason was, we were told, that it could affect the local natural habitat, worms, frogs and some birds...My father works the farm and the livestock are in water, the livestock and people’s livelihoods should be just as important as frogs, birds, etc,” explained Stephen.
Stephen’s parents had been looking forward to welcoming their children and two newborn grandchildren home for Christmas, to the home which has been in the family for over 100 years, but with flood waters increasing, the Connolly’s are faced with having to leave their home for Christmas.
“Even if the flood is gone, there won’t be Christmas here,” says Stephen, adding that he and his family are ‘appalled’ that nothing has been done to relieve the threat of flooding since 2006.
“I cannot understand why all stakeholders cannot sit down together and see if drainage is a solution, make a decision at the very least. It keeps getting worse, we’re isolated here in south Mayo, we aren’t Bandon. If drainage made a ten or 15 percent difference we might not be flooded right now,” says Connolly.
“My parents have worked their whole life to make this a home and to see it all washed away isn’t good enough”.