As she waited anxiously for another expected deluge to swamp her sandbagged home in Springfield, Clonlara, south east Clare, the mum of four had a simple message for the Government.“We are living in life-threatening conditions. Something needs to be done for us now. If Enda Kenny or Simon Harris are listening, they really will have to sort this out in the new year because we really cannot go through this again,” she said, wiping away tears.
The ESB confirmed it was increasing the flow along the Lower River Shannon to 440 cubic metres per second, which, along with increased rainfall from Storm Frank, is expected to put properties and roads in Springfield under water again.
Exhausted and crying, Ms Quinlivan said she was “absolutely distraught”.
The area is located a mere 1.5km from the River Shannon, and when increased water is released by the ESB from the Parteen Weir, the deluge has nowhere to go but through Springfield as it lies along the lowest point of the banks of the river. Clonlara was previously flooded in 1995 and 2009 forcing residents to evacuate to emergency accommodation.
“What we are looking for is a flood defence to be built around our homes, that’s what we are looking for,” Ms Quinlivan said. “We are also looking for an embankment to be built about a mile behind our homes with a sluice gate and pumps. It’s in the CFRAM [Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management] study, and has been accepted as a solution to our problem.”
Ms Quinlivan left home last week after the stress of the situation became too much, bringing her teenage son with her so he could study for his Leaving Certificate exams in peace. “He’s been out of school for the past three weeks and he can’t lose any more time,” she said.
“We’re facing the possibility of having four members of the one family actually homeless now because we don’t think we are going to save [our house] this time.”
“This nightmare continues.”
The Quinlivans own four homes in Springfield, Clonlara. Two of them have been completely flooded, while the remaining two are sandbagged and patrolled 24 hours a day by family members keeping watch on the rising tide. Up to six feet of water surrounds many houses Springfield.
Two weeks ago the waters rose over the fields and roads before entering homes. This is expected to be repeated again over the next 48 to 72 hours.
Yesterday, Ms Quinlivan ferried food and other supplies to a waiting boat provided by the army that would be transported to her husband and three sons who are holed up in their barricaded home.