FEAR OF REPEAT Darragh Quinn clearing away sandbags from the front of his chemist during the flooding which took place in December 2015. Pic: Michael McLaughlin
ANOTHER storm like that of Storm Desmond in 2015 would bankrupt Crossmolina and its people. That is according to business owner Darragh Quinn.
Quinn, the owner of Quinn’s Chemist in the town, told The Mayo News last week that possible flooding once again is causing ‘major concern’ to the community.
“People are at their wits end. I see the worry etched on people’s faces,” said Quinn, who was speaking after two recent flooding threats to the town, one in which the water was within four inches of the bridge being breached.
Though some remedial works such as the fitting of non-return valves and individual floodgates for businesses and homes have been fitted, the community are concerned about the long wait they face for a bypass channel.
The OPW’s initial timeline for the works to start in the fourth quarter of 2019 has caused concern and Senator Michelle Mulherin and local councillor, Michael Loftus, believe work needs to start on the defences next summer at the latest.
Senator Mulherin said she has put pressure on the Office of Public Works to ‘fast track the delivery of the much-needed bypass channel’.
Mr Quinn believes dredging of the River Deel would alleviate threats to a certain extent until then channel is built, but said the OPW have ‘point blank refused’.
“We’re frustrated as a small town. If this was an impact in Dublin on Google or Intel things would be done. In Crossmolina we’re on the back burner,” said the pharmacist.
Cllr Loftus said the main worry for people is insurance.
“It’s the worry, the fact that people aren’t insured, that’s the biggest issue. Most of the houses and businesses aren’t insured, and if they are insured it’s costing them an arm and a leg. We’re two to three years down the road of the proposal of the bypass plan not being done.”
Mr Quinn said it was also was very hard for people to live with the threat of flooding when they can’t get insurance.
“Precious possessions were destroyed after the last flood and people have spent their savings on repairs. There is a psychological aspect to this, there are people who don’t sleep at night,” said Quinn.
With money already ring-fenced, and the bypass route picked, people are frustrated with the long timeline of delivery.
“It will be two to three years of winters that it’s going to take to get it done. It’s the worry that we have, we had it [possible flooding] in September already and yet we’re into November now, if we have another 100 year flood nothing will stop it, ” noted Cllr Loftus.
Cllr Loftus cites ‘bureaucracy’ as the main reason for the prolonged project timeframe.
“It has to be put through different phases, it went to the minister, now the landowners have to be meet to discuss terms to buy the land and then from there to drawings and whatever else.”
Commenting on waiting for the bypass channel to be built and the possibility of more flooding, Mr Quinn said: ‘Another flood will bankrupt businesses and Crossmolina’.