Cahermore, the small townland located between Labane and Kinvara has been very much in the news this week due to the construction of a channel in the area which could potentially have a huge effect on future flooding in South Galway. The channel, which was dug last week following the go-ahead from Galway Couty Council, is almost three miles long and runs from Cahermore to the sea. It has been critical in ensuring that a huge number of homes in the surrounding area have been spared from going under water.
Local councillor Joe Byrne, who has been a major advocate of the work in Cahermore, labelled the channel the most important piece of infrastructure constructed in South Galway in 25 years. “It took a crisis to deal with a crisis. The initiative is there now to do something and this channel has had a huge effect. Not only has it alleviated some of the problem in Cahermore it has had an effect futher back the line as well. I have always said we have to go to the sea and work back. What is done is hopefully 75 per cent of the way to achieving a permanent solution in south Galway.”
Councillor Byrne says only so much can be done while the floodwaters remain at such a high level but he is very hopeful that the channel can be deepened in time. “It must get to a depth that it is not only able to take the water causing flooding in Cahermore but also enable the water in Coole Lough and Caherglissane Lough to flow into it so they will not flood either.”
It is speculated the cost of last week’s work was only in the region of €30,000. A report compiled in 2011 claimed the cost of flood alleviation measures was €48 million. The Fine Gael councillor says that is madness. “This report was done and everyone immediately then said work could not be carried out because it was too expensive. That figure is just crazy, I can’t see how it would cost a fraction of that. If we can do work over two or three days last week for a tiny cost like €25,000 or €30,000, why are they saying it will cost nearly €50 million? I want to get to the bottom of that.”
Water has entered the home of Cahermore resident Martin McInerney, who is currently living on the top floor. However Mr McInerney says the foul smell emanating from the flood water means he probably won’t be able to remain there much longer. His son and daughter who live nearby have both been forced to vacate their homes. “My son is gone to the Lady Gregory Hotel, while my daughter has managed to secure a house. My five-year-old grand-daughter was here yesterday, she was not able to speak she was so distressed. She broke out in red blotches, I don’t know did she come in contact with contaminated water or what but she had to be brought to hospital. It is very stressful.”
The farmer’s 100 cattle are currently being housed by Gort Mart. He says he was lucky to get them out safely and is very grateful for the help of neighbours and friends. “There were 25 people here yesterday sandbagging the back of the house, there was young lads I did not even know. The community spirit is great but it is really devastating. As I am speaking, I am looking out my window at bales floating around my yard The only thing that has raised my spirits a little is the channel being built, and the hope that if it is deepened we may not flood again. I would hate to think how many more houses would have flooded if that had not been done.”