The village of Cong in particular is still suffering because of the flooding that first occurred last December. At the January meeting of the Claremorris Municipal District of Mayo County Council, director of services Paddy Mahon outlined in a presentation the areas that have been affected and the efforts the council has made to keep things under control.
During his presentation he told the meeting: "We have a situation where we have a pump, pumping river water in Cong for five weeks now and I don't know how much longer we'll have to do it. I would have thought we'd have been able to stand that pump down now, but we can't because if we do, homes and businesses will get flooded and that pump is still operating, it was up to Tuesday night the last time I checked. I don't think anyone can remember having to deal with that before."
He added that the staff from the council have put in a serious effort to keep things at bay as much as possible. "Our own staff for the last five weeks have been on call and in operation all day every day, right throughout the period including the Christmas period, I think there were members of staff who never got time off even on Christmas Day. It has been a tremendous effort to try and keep a handle on the whole events, which were unprecedented."
Mr Mahon continued that the repair stage of the plan to deal with the after effects will be getting into full swing. "There are huge issues with repairs, we have done some repair work with roads, but there is significent other works we'll have to do, we have to go away and look at what roads need to be raised and how high we need to raise them so we don't have the accessibilty issues in the future if the floods come back."
Councillors from the south Mayo area added that it was the worst event they could remember, with Cllr Damien Ryan saying: "It probably was the worst scenario ever that has to have hit this area of the county, the water levels have broken all records in regards the height they came to on this occasion," and, "In the aftermath of what was a catastrophe and a disaster area, I think that it's now incumbent on us to find solutions and have them financed accordingly."
Cllr Patsy O'Brien told the meeting: "The people of south Mayo have encountered something, I know 2006 was bad and 2009, but this year and this time it was more horrific and for a longer period of time," and "more people left south Mayo than any other area in this country because of this, and this county in general has the highest amount of people who left their houses."
Both of the councillors called for something to be done in relation to rates for business' that have been affected by the flooding with Cllr O'Brien also asking that something be looked at for small business people such as carpenters or mechanics who may not have a traditional front door business that people walk into, who have seen their business slashed over the past five weeks.
It was also agreed that the OPW be invited to the next meeting of the district which will be held in south Mayo in February.