After making a passionate plea on Wednesday afternoon that the army be dispatched to help in areas of south Mayo which he described as "an absloute disaster zone" and where he said "people are living in fear." Cllr Damien Ryan confirmed to the Mayo Advertiser yesterday that he had been told by management in Mayo County Council "the army have been contacted and are mobilised and are ready to go and will be here in an hour if we need them."
The after effects of Storm Desmond and the heavy rainfall that has followed has seen wide stretches of south Mayo under serious threat from flooding with villages of up to 40 or 50 houses cut off along with other smaller communities according to Cllr Ryan. At Wednesday's meeting of the Claremorris Municipal District Cllr Ryan, who praised the efforts of a stretched outdoor and engineering staff in dealing with the current crisis, added: "We need the civil defence and the army, it's no shame or disrespect to anybody to call them in. Every other county has them, that's what they are there for."
During the meeting he took five emergency phone calls from people in the area who were in grave fear that their homes were about to become flooded, he said, and that it only got worse on Wednesday night into Thursday morning. "I was in Cong all night last night with council workers and their engineers. We were able to get pumps in place to keep the water at bay at around 11pm, they've been going all the time since, but it's just keeping things at bay only."
He went on to say: “In The Neale and Lough Mask the water has been rising consistently since last Saturday, this is far worse than what happened in the region in 2006. The council staff on the ground have been working around the clock since last Saturday, what’s needed now is enhanced resources to get through this emergency now, because the forecast doesn’t look good going into the weekend either.”
Cllr Ryan is demanding a more permanent solution be found to stop this type of thing happening. “It needs to be sorted out, we were told in 2006 that it was a one in 100 year event, it’s not. The only thing that will do is an arterial drainage scheme for the whole region. All we’ve done since 2006 is some road raising, last year we raised the road by four foot at The Neale and it’s still underwater this week. This should be the number one priority for everyone involved in making these decisions, the people need to be protected.”