Limerick woman ‘was floating on the water in her bed’ during last flood

Madeline Whelan was removing presents from under the Christmas tree in the front room of the family home in St Mary’s Park yesterday.

Limerick woman ‘was floating on the water in her bed’ during last flood

Like most of the 300 households in one of Limerick’s Regeneration estates, she is on flood alert.

Madeline’s home was flooded when the Shannon burst its banks on February 1, 2014, and she had to take refuge upstairs for several weeks while repair work was carried out and furniture and electrical fittings were replaced.

Her house at 11 Verdant Crescent directly faces onto the river which she will be monitor day and night while the present flood threat looms.

Madeline recalled: “The entire ground floor was destroyed in the last flood. I didn’t have to leave the house as I moved upstairs. I was on my own at the time.

“The regeneration and the council repaired the house and replaced damaged furniture and electrical stuff. They did it quite quickly and they had to replace the floors downstairs as well. They did the work and I got some money — about €300 — from another fund.”

Since the present weather warnings were issued, Madleine says she has been on edge.

She said: “I am very nervous. We took all the Christmas presents from under the tree today and put them up high. We had loads of presents. My daughter Aimey and grandson James who is seven, live with me. Anything I can move upstairs, I am moving it.”

Madeline is not impressed about recent work to raise the wall running by the river in front of her house.

“They put two cement blocks flat on the wall. That won’t keep much out,” she said.

Jason Sheehy, aged 40 lived in St Munchin’s Street in St Mary’s Park when the last flood struck.

Their house was badly damaged in the flood and after it was initially repaired the family were given another house in nearby St Ita’s Street and the old house was demolished.

Jason’s elderly mother lived down stairs in their former home.

“When the flood struck she was floating on the water in her bed. We moved out for a while as the house was repaired and dried out.

“The Regeneration then knocked the house that was flooded and we were moved,” he said.

Since the last flooding, the river bank at St Mary’s Park has been reinforced by sand bags, each weighing one ton.

However, Jason feels these will not be sufficient if the 2014 flooding is repeated.

He said: “Much of this broken away form wear and tear since they were put down last summer. I get up at around 5am every morning to go to work, so I am watching out that early for the height of the river. Every winter there is now a worry the day the weather has gone. In the last flood my girlfriend’s car was swept down the street.”

Jason said the house was fully repaired after the flood, but they got very little cash compensation.

Local councillor, John Gilligan said compensation was paid out very promptly after the 2014 floodinig and some families received up to €30,000 such was the damage caused to their homes.

He said the huge number of one-ton sand bags should help keep out flood waters over the coming days.

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