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Wednesday 4 October 2023 Dublin: 13°C
David Raleigh
# flooded
'It's bringing hell back again': Clare families brace for further flooding as River Shannon rises
Around 7,000 sandbags, and pumping stations were delivered to 10 houses, some of which have been cut off from roads

RESIDENTS OF SPRINGFIELD, Clonlara, Co Clare, were evacuated from their homes and more were braced for “hell” and “misery” as the flooded River Shannon swept around their homes.

Around 7,000 sandbags, and pumping stations were delivered to ten houses, some of which have been cut off from roads, and are now effectively languished on islands.

The nightmare of previous devastating floods, in 1995, 2009, and 2016 returned for Joe and Geraldine Quinlivan who have built a sandbag trench around their bungalow.

“It’s bringing back hell again. Politicians just don’t seem to care. You’ll get the politicians here when the media arrive, and when they get their faces on the papers and on the television, they go away after that, and that’s what they have been doing since 1995,” said Joe Quinlivan.

He believes the solution lies in dredging trees and silt on a stretch of the River Shannon about a mile from his home. However, he said his requests have, so far, fallen on deaf ears.

“There are two types of people in this country, one that will do it and one will talk about it. Give me the man that will do it.”

In 2016, the family spent an exhausting seven weeks, night and day, pumping floodwater away from their home.

Looking over her rear garden fence at a lake of floodwater coming towards her home, Geraldine Quinlivan fought back tears.

“The water has risen approximately six inches since 9pm last night, and it’s still rising so, it’s a cause of great concern for us,” she said.

“It’s unfortunate we find ourselves back in the same situation again with nothing down.”

The frustrated mother of four continued: “I was up this morning at 3.30am and my husband got up at 5.30am to check to see what the water levels were like. We’ve just had enough, we cannot live like this any more.” 

“It’s not good enough we are putting up with this and living with this threat every year.”

“This is not an acceptable way to live, we can’t cope with this physically or mentally anymore.”

IMG_3108 David Raleigh Joe and Geraldine Quinlivan at their home in Clara. David Raleigh

Springfield is located between the Parteen Weir and Limerick. The Parteen Weir sluice gates are operated by the ESB, which in the event of increased rainfall and large volumes flowing from Athlone, must in turn release increased discharge flows, which in turn flood communities on the lower Shannon basin.

Plans by Clare County Council to construct a nearby embankment and pumping station have been put on hold.

“We need this embankment built. The time for surveys, talking, and meetings is over,” said Geraldine.

“We need the new government to put an emphasis on flooding, on the misery of flooding and its effects on people. The new government should make flooding a priority.”

“It’s not rocket science. We just need it to be done.”

Speaking in Springfield, John Leahy, Clare Council Senior Engineer, said an increase in rainfall was forecast for the area overnight which would likely result in floodwaters rising.

“We’ve had crews here all week making preparations. There are some houses that have been cut off and some of those residents have been put up in local hotels,” Mr Leahy said.

“In addition to our own crews working here all week, we have the (Clare) Civil Defence here and we also have the Fire Service, and the Army on standby, if we need their assistance.”

“We’d like to reassure the people of Springfield/Clonlara that Clare County Council won’t be leaving here until the flood has subsided, until the waters have abated around their houses.”

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