THE blame for over €1 million worth of flood damage to homes and businesses in Crossmolina has been firmly laid at the door of Mayo County Council by local residents, who claim not enough was done to prevent damage.
In the early hours of Sunday morning last, residents of Crossmolina were forced to evacuate their homes and save their businesses after the River Deel burst its banks for the first time since 1989.
With no sandbags or provisions available for the flood, residents are angry that precious time was wasted as they had to get sand from a local quarry to fill the sandbags.
But while many residents are annoyed at the local authority for not having sandbags on standby, thay are furious over the lack of maintenance on the river. They believe this was a major factor in the river bursting its banks.
Local publican, Noel Moffatt called for action to be taken to ensure such a disaster does not happen again.
“The local authority in ‘89 was supposed to have done some work, yet we felt looking at the river over the last few years, that there had been no maintenance, and we feel that was the main problem this year. Some of the authorities have to be blamed; it would not have happened this time if the work was done properly after the last big flood in 1989,” said Mr Moffat
Among the businesses to suffer the most damage was ‘FAB Carpet and Furniture’ store, owned by Knockmore man Francis Brogan. Several thousand euro worth of damage was caused after the storeroom which kept carpets and other accessories was submerged in over three foot of water.
The sub-officer with Crossmolina Fire Brigade, Mr Liam Cawley told The Mayo News they got the call that the Deel had broke its banks at a quarter to five on Sunday morning and they started to go into the houses at Church Street at about 6am. He said the water kept rising until 10am and the flooding in the town was caused by the water backing up through the drains.
However, Mayo County Secretary, Mr John Condon, rejected claims that the Council or the OPW could have done more to prevent the Deel from bursting its banks, and claimed the Council was in no way responsible for the maintenance of the river.
“Seventeen years is a long time without any serious flooding in the area and I do know that the OPW have spent a lot of money in this county in the last number of years. However, we do have a lot of river ways all over the county,” said Mr Condon.
The torrential rain which fell over the weekend also caused damage and flooding to other parts of the county. Flooding forced the closure of the Glencorrib to Shrule road on Monday morning, while the Westport to Leenane road was also blocked for a time on Sunday due to raising flood waters. The road between Louisburgh and Leenane was closed due to a minor landslide, while high winds caused damage to dozens of hoardings across the county.
Met Éireann said high winds could return at the end of the week and more flooding is to be expected in some areas.