Women afraid to return home

RESIDENTS who were evacuated after a landslide are afraid to return home despite assurances that the area is safe.

Engineers assessed the risk to the homes in a housing estate in Mallow, Co Cork, yesterday after the collapse of an embankment on Sunday threatened homes.

But despite giving the all-clear for the two affected residents to return home, one of the evacuees, Therese Noonan, said she is still worried.

Part of her garden slid down the 20-foot embankment in the landslide and cracks have also appeared in the walls of her home.

“I’m still not the better of it. They are saying it’s okay, but we got our own engineer to inspect the house and he said the problems could crop up six months down the road. I’m just not happy,” she said.

Therese and her neighbour, Kathleen Griffin, who lives across the road in Westbrook Court estate, were evacuated on Sunday amid concerns their homes were at risk after the landslide.

Contractors for the Office of Public Works (OPW) are using earth moving equipment at the base of the embankment to widen a gully and build foundations for a flood wall.

Engineers from the OPW and Mallow Town Council visited the site yesterday and have placed specialist monitoring equipment in key areas to assess any further earth movements.

Town mayor James Kennedy said they are satisfied there is no further risk to property.

The engineers are also planning to work around the clock over the coming days to strengthen the embankment, he said.

Ms Noonan and her neighbour will be put in a local hotel for the next few days while the engineering work is being done. Some of it will take place at night.

Mr Kennedy said he is satisfied that everything possible is being done to make the area safe.

“Some remedial work will be done before the weekend and the work will be conducted up to 16 hours a day,” he said.

He said he will be asking tough questions of the main contractors on that element of the floodproject.

He has called a special meeting of the town council for tomorrow afternoon and has invited engineers from the contractor, the OPW and Mallow Town Council to submit a full report on the incident.

“It is vital that any concerns councillors or residents may have in relation to this incident are allayed,” he said.

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