Flooding is 'the final straw' after Covid-19 for West Cork bar owner

Flooding is 'the final straw' after Covid-19 for West Cork bar owner
Rosscarberry in West Cork was badly flooded.  Picture: Andy Gibson

As homeowners and businesses count the cost of flooding in West Cork, many people are pointing to the lack of clearing debris from small rivers, streams and gullies as being a contribution to the damage.

Bina Long, who leases the Beehive bar in the village of Cononagh, four miles west of Rosscarbery, had just refurbished the premises in the hope of shortly reopening as the Covid-19 lockdown eases.

“The floors came up and there was mud everywhere. I lost a lot of units in the hall and all my electrical appliances such as the dishwasher, cooker, fridge. I'm just devastated, it's like a bad dream. It's the final straw what with Covid,” Ms Long said.

She believes the nearby river was a factor.

“There was a lot of debris, trees and silt in it. The council came out to cut the trees and take them away. That's like closing the gate after the horse has gone,” she said.

Ms Long added that the owners of the bar had been “excellent” and were helping her to get back on her feet.

The post office/shop at Castlefreke, Rathbarry, also near Rosscarbery had reopened yesterday, thanks to the help of many locals who rallied to aid postmistress Breda Hartnett who's run them for the past 51 years.

Her daughter-in-law, Deirdre, said the premises were flooded previously in June 2012.

Mrs Hartnett, who is a widow, broke her femur and only came out of hospital on July 21. When the water started coming, in Deirdre called the fire brigade for help as she was worried she wouldn't be able to get her upstairs to safety. In the end, she managed to get Breda upstairs, even though the power had gone and there were no lights.

She praised the fire brigade for helping make the place safe and draining out the flood water, especially as they were under severe pressure with calls to attend all over the area.

After the floods, the clear up begins, the main N71 route was again closed today at Rosscarbery with diversions in place as council workmen and officials began the mammoth task of clearing tons of silt and debris from the roads and repairing the road surfaces in the area. Picture: Andrew Harris.
After the floods, the clear up begins, the main N71 route was again closed today at Rosscarbery with diversions in place as council workmen and officials began the mammoth task of clearing tons of silt and debris from the roads and repairing the road surfaces in the area. Picture: Andrew Harris.

“The river hasn't been cleaned out and that's the problem. Breda has raised this issue with the council before,” Deirdre said.

Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard visited Rosscarbery in the aftermath. He toured the flood-damaged village with members of the local tidy towns group.

“They told me there were many gullies and drains which hadn't been cleared there in the past two years,” he said.

Fianna Fáil TD Christopher O'Sullivan also toured the damaged region. 

“I have no doubt without flood defences in Clonakilty, the river there would have burst its banks. But the problem in other areas is the council doesn't have enough outdoor staff to cleans drains,” he said.

In Dunmanway, some houses in Chapel Street were flooded for the fourth time in five years.

"The people there simply pulled out the carpets and said 'here we go again'. One woman was lighting a fire when the water came up through the fire grate,” Dunmanway-based Independent councillor Declan Hurley said.

Cork County Council is undertaking emergency road repairs on the flood-damaged N71 in Rosscarbery.

“Motorists are reminded to drive with caution in the general area, as many roads in West Cork have been damaged during the recent weather events,” a spokeswoman for the council said.

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