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STORM REPORT Areas south of Louisburgh hit by Storm Brigid

News Features

Underneath all these rocks, stones and sea rods lies what is left of the loop road around Devlin.
ROAD TO NOWHERE?Underneath all these rocks, stones and sea rods lies what is left of the loop road around Devlin.?Pic: Michael McLaughlin

Surveying the aftermath of Storm Brigid’s fury

Edwin McGreal

The idyllic coastal region south of Louisburgh is set against the wild Atlantic Ocean with no bay to ease the power of the incoming tide.
It took a hit during Storm Christine in early January, but it was Storm Brigid that really did the damage.
The area’s natural defences were undermined by the first storms, leaving it vulnerable. The direction taken by Brigid proved ruinous.
As you travel along the coast, the damage is clear to see. Carrowniskey came out worst, but places like Devlin, Cross Strand, Killadoon and Accony at the Sickeen River took a ferocious hit too.
The scenic loop road at Devlin has been badly breached, and remains completely blocked at three different points.
Two homeowners have no access to their houses as a result. Luckily, they were on holidays at the time of the storm. However, it is difficult to imagine them getting road access to their homes in the coming days.
Steel barriers have been uprooted, bent and tossed like the weak branches of a tree; huge chunks of road have been washed away; other stretches have been completely covered by rocks flung inland by the raging the sea.
Farmland on the far side of the road has been breached by salt water too.  
“There was a weakness here after the first storms, and the second storm last weekend really tore into is here in Devlin,” local Cllr Austin Francis O’Malley told The Mayo News.
The Devlin road is the responsibility of Mayo County Council. While that means it will be repaired, it will not be a quick or cheap job.
A nearby Local Improvement Scheme (LIS) road, which is not a council roads but which councillors can apportion funding for, has been badly damaged too. The owners of the three houses on the road have had to restore the road themselves to gain access to their homes.
At the mouth of the Sickeen River, Brendan Haverty was forced to clear rubble from his access road three times in one month in order to gain access to his home. His road is an LIS road also.
The situation is repeated all along the coast of Mayo, and LIS roads will not be first on the list when it comes to restoration works – if they are on any list at all. Austin Francis O’Malley thinks Europe needs to be lobbied for assistance to help with the overall repairs. He  describes the current budget for each individual councillor for LIS roads of €8,000 per year as ‘far too low’.