Sean’s Bar preparing to battle the rising waters once again

Sean's Bar, Athlone and Ireland's oldest pub, is no stranger to flooding. In 2009 the establishment was a wash out despite the best efforts of proprietor Timmy Donovan.

Speaking on Wednesday, Mr Donovan said: "The water is almost here now. In 2009 we hadn't a clue what was coming, but this year we know what to expect. We have pumps at the ready, sandbags, and we are using timber to create a dam at the back of the pub. It hasn't entered the pub yet but by this evening or tomorrow morning it will be in."

Mr Donovan explains the lengths he went to six years ago to fight against the flooding, and how that has helped him in his preparations this time around: "We battled it hard in 2009. I used to stay in the bar at night with pumps constantly going, and I kept it out for about a week back then. Eventually, it burst up through a storm drain behind me and flooded the whole place. So this time we are watching every angle. We are blocking pipes and storm drains to stop the water coming in that way, and we have pumps in all of our drains."

Mr Donovan is quick to mention those who are in a fair worse place than he is at this present time, particularly due to the fact that many are without house insurance. "There is an awful lot of people in a far worst state than I am in; Deerpark and those areas. I was in those houses in 2009 and there was around two foot of water inside of them. They were completely destroyed and in the aftermath they could not get insurance whatsoever. It is not a 'maybe', the water will enter those houses again and destroy them, and what are those people to do.

"I did not claim on my insurance in 2009 as I was told I would not get insurance again. However, they still went and increased my premium by 9,000 due to me being in an area at risk. I did not put in a claim but it made no difference, I might as well have claimed. It is just not right to feed off the misery of people."

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