SWAMPED Cathy McCarthy’s only access to her home now is across the fields. Her house is on the extreme right of the picture. Pic: Michael Donnelly
Flood problems continue
A MOTHER and her two children have been forced to trek through muddy fields and climb over wire fences and stone walls in order to gain access to the family home in south Mayo.
Cathy McCarthy and her daughters Helen and Naoimh have endured constant upheaval over the last six weeks as flood waters have completely engulfed the surrounding land and access route to the family home at Garracloon village, situated between The Neale and Cross. The only point of entry to their home is by a field located at the rear of their house.
A turlough lake a short distance from the family home has overflown and flooded the surrounding area, while the situation has been exacerbated by unprecedented levels of rainfall.
“It is an absolute nightmare. We have probably spent six days in the past six weeks in the house overall. When I say that, I am referring to six days where we were actually able to go in the front door. We had to move out completely over Christmas. The flood receded over Christmas and we moved back in for a further two weeks. However, since then I have been coming and going,” said Cathy.
While the family home has, incredibly, been undamaged by the flood waters, routine family life has been completely disrupted.
“When I am working I stay with my parents. As I work long shifts I have to get up at six every morning and commute for an hour-and-a-half. During my days off though I return to my own home and get in by walking across the fields. My youngest daughter Naoimh does the same. It is awful though as we are just living out of a suitcase and popping in and out of the house for a night or two. As well as that, the weather has been absolutely awful in the last while and it seems it will be quite a while before the water levels recede,” explained Cathy.
At present Cathy’s eldest daughter Helen resides in the family home and undertakes a wet and muddy trek across the field each morning before collecting her car at the end of the road and continuing her journey to work.
Over the past number of weeks all methods of transport have been employed to bring the trio to and from the house. On Christmas Eve a boat was deployed to help Cathy bring Christmas presents and personal belongings out of the house.
While the current disruption is proving tiresome, she is concerned that this current predicament will become an annual event.
“Definitely I am really worried that every year we will be almost completely cut off – bar having to walk roughly a quarter of a mile through a mucky field and over walls. We can only go in the back door. The road and land at the front of the house is completely inaccessible. If there was ever any need for the emergency services to call to our home they would not be able to access us, bar of course going across the fields like we do,” explained Cathy.
Mr Patsy Bourke, senior engineer with Mayo County Council, confirmed to The Mayo News that discussions had taken place in recent weeks between members of Mayo County Council and the OPW and that all proposals were being considered – including a full arterial drainage scheme for south Mayo. He outlined that finding a solution to the flooding problems, particularly in The Neale region, was, however, proving problematic.
To date there has been no further progress on recent discussions.