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Calls for more action following flooding

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ROAD CLOSED Flooding on the R330 near Partry at the townland of Ballynanerroon Beg meant the most direct route from Ballinrobe to Westport was unpassable for most of last week. Pic: Paul Mealey

Ciara Galvin

MORE houses have become marooned and communities continue to be cut off in south Mayo as flood waters remain at an all time high.
The flooding situation in The Neale, Cong and Cross has been described as ‘bad, if not worse’ than when Storm Desmond initially created the flooding in early December.
Although rain levels have reduced to a certain extent, intermittent heavy rainfalls have meant that water tables have bulged over capacity and areas which hadn’t been affected last month are now cut off.
“Quite a number of houses have been affected, the village of Cong, the Derries in Cross, while the road connecting Kilmaine to The Neale has now also been flooded,” explained Cllr Damien Ryan.
Cllr Ryan described the current situation in the region as ‘sheer hardship’ with many houses being cut off for over the last month.
“There is a man that hasn’t left his house for six weeks and he’s dependant on Richard Mellotte [shop keeper and publican] to bring supplies to him,” said Cllr Ryan, adding that the flooding has also stopped some home help staff getting to people’s houses.
Financial package
Ryan believes a financial package should be made available to people most effected by the flooding and he was critical of the Office of Public Works’ (OPW) efforts throughout the flooding saga.
The councillor said people living in townlands and villages in The Neale area that are still cut off due to continued flooding need assistance in alleviating the problem.
He has also called for rates to be offset against businesses who were affected by flooding or whose trade was reduced due to flooding.
“All areas have suffered. South of the [Neale] crossroads were unable to access Ballinrobe and businesses depend on this usually busy time to pay next year’s rates. Cong has suffered as well,” said Cllr Ryan, adding that a solution to the flooding needed to be identified and funding to be put in place.

Water, water everywhere
Though many homes are submerged by water and are cut off due to flooding, over 420 householders were without water over the weekend after a local pump station became flooded.  
Householders connected to the Lough Mask/ Creevagh group water scheme in the wider areas of Kilmaine, the Neale, Clonbur and parts close to Ballinrobe were without water since Saturday.
Chairman of the Group Scheme Vivian Dooley said though it was envisaged to have all homes restored yesterday (Monday), he urges people to continue to boil water as the water source being used has not been tested.
“In the longterm we’ll have to do an upgrade of infrastructure at the pump house. It’s very difficult for people and adding to the misery but people have been understanding, it’s a community scheme owned by the community themselves,” he said.

Meeting
Meanwhile, Crossmolina councillor Michael Loftus is hoping to meet with representatives from the OPW this month to discuss measures to prevent further flooding.
Cllr Loftus said the OPW must take responsibility for the area above Deel Bridge in the area as far as Ceenagh.
“People want action, not talk. The community are doing all they can with setting up an action group.”
Cllr Loftus has asked the OPW to put a two hour warning system at Deel Bridge and said he has been given ‘an indication’ that this would happen.

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