Towns in Mayo were this morning counting the cost of the damage cause by flooding after storm Desmond caused lashed the county over the weekend. Crossmolina was particularly badly hit by the storm with the River Deel bursting it’s banks and flooding the town.
Crossmolina based councillor Michael Loftus told the Mayo Adevtiser this morning that “it’s the worst ever, much worse than the flood we had back in 1989. The level of the river went over three meters on Saturday a level that has never been seen before. The OPW have data on that shows at rose from under one metre to over three meters on Saturday at Ballycarroon.”
The costs to business following the flooding still have to be assessed, but Cllr Loftus said for a lot of business it will come form their own pockets. “There were business’ with a few feet of water inside them and a lot of people don’t have insurance since the time they got flooded in 1989.”
The Fianna Fáil Cllr also added that “successive governments have let the people down in Crossmolina when it comes to trying to stop this happening to the people of the town.” Loftus was also keen to prise the efforts of the local people in helping out their neigbours over the weekend. “The community spirit has been fantastic, that’s what really got the people through this tough time and they’ve all rallied around each other to help in whatever way they can.”
The flooding saw access to Erris could off at a number of points with the N59 from Ballina blocked because of the flooding in Crossmolina and the R312 from Castlebar through Bellcorick also blocked off due to the flooding.
In Westport the Carrowbeg river came close to flooding over it’s banks along the north and south Mall in the down due to the surge of water following the rainfall brought by storm Desmond. In south Mayo both Cong and The Neale were also cut off for periods over the weekend due to flooding caused by the rainfall.
Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary has called for urgent support to be given to the people of Crossmolina following the flooding. He said on Sunday afternoon that, “Crossmolina has suffered another damaging flood with many homes and businesses being hit for the second time in just three weeks. Those affected by the flooding are in desperate need of urgent support from the Government,
“The Department of Social Protection needs to open up access to the Humanitarian Assistance Scheme for those affected by the flooding. We also need to see social welfare officials on the ground in Crossmolina this week to provide advice and support to the community, and this can be achieved by opening up a special clinic in the town itself.
“Flooding in Crossmolina is increasing in frequency and intensity. The local community are extremely worried about possible future flooding and they need reassurance from the Government. Many of those affected can no longer get flood insurance so their only hope is for the OPW to put in place effective flood defences.
“It’s extremely worrying that OPW management still do not have an agreed long term solution to prevent flooding in the town. This is in spite of very strong political pressure over many years. They continue to focus on flood defence designs that are simply unworkable. Meanwhile the local community has effectively been left in limbo as they have to deal with flooding on a regular basis."
Government TD Michelle Mulherin has said that she will be calling on the relevant minister to ensure that the Humanitarian Assitance Scheme be rolled out in the town saying today that "I am asking the Tanaiste and Minister Simon Coveney who is in charge of National Emergency Response and Planning, and the government, to provide some assistance for these hard-pressed small independent businesses to help them get back on their feet.
"The Humanitarian Assistance Scheme, managed by the Department of Social Protection, is intended to assist homeowners to overcome the damage caused by flooding. But the scheme does not cover businesses who are also suffering severely following a second flood in Crossmolina within weeks that has caused severe damage to their premise and stock.
"The fact that homes and businesses in Crossmolina have no insurance cover because of previous flooding makes this an emergency situation that requires an immediate humanitarian response in the form of financial assistance for the Crossmolina flood victims."
More to follow during the week on www.advertiser.ie/mayo and in Friday's print edition