‘Farmers’ hands are tied in Galway as flooding shows no sign of abating’

The flooding in south Galway is causing serious problems with homes, farm yards and land under water.

Shane Nolan, a tillage farmer and contractor, told Agriland that homes are still being lost in the area.

Several turloughs in the area have reached capacity, spilling over into one another and then not being able to get to the sea at Kinvara fast enough.

“Cahermore Turlough has a natural spillway which was blocked by a man-made dump made from bulldozing around 40 years ago.”

Nolan said that TD Michael Fitzmaurice and MEP Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan last week visited the affected area of south Galway and were shown around by ex-officers of the IFA where they pointed out the water wasn’t getting to the sea fast enough.

“Fitzmaurice saw the localised flooding in Galway and saw how simple it could be to alleviate; he got onto the council engineers and insisted that they do something.”

After the pressure from Fitzmaurice on the council, Chief Engineer, Liam Gavin instructed the local council to carry out the works required, he said.

“We got permission from the council to dig a trench; 16ft wide by 8ft deep last week and on Saturday they called and said to stop what we were doing. Our hands are tied.

After the Labane tea party, we arranged a meeting with Liam Gavin but he refuses point blank to come out to see what’s being done and won’t allow more work to be done.

“After Fitzmaurice and Flanagan left they (the council) did a bit, but not enough.

“Cahermore was rising by 1ft a night, after the trench was dug it stopped it rising by 11 inches but it’s still rising by an inch a night.

“We lost two houses last night, one was a landmarked thatched cottage, three nights ago there was three pumps pumping water out of a farm and we lost that, now the house is under threat, it’s coming up through shower outlet.

“The pressure of water is lifting the tarmac and if that bursts the house is gone.

“The water has risen to the level of another thatched cottage and given another inch it will be in the house, it’s sandbagged but its still coming in,” he said.

“Cahermore Turlough is being filled by Kilamoran Turlough and that in turn is being filled by Garryland Turlough

They’re all full and rising still, Garryland is spilling over a low point into Kilamoran, it is full and in turn is filling into Cahermore.

Nolan said that there are two natural swallow holes on a section of land that are filled with stones that were bulldozed into them, when people were cleaning land years ago.

Nolan told Agriland that Micheal Flaherty, a nearby farmer whose farm yard is submerged, said that he would pay for it out of his own pocket to clear the swallow holes (which were on land he didn’t own).

He went to the council and got approval to clear them, according to Nolan. On the day he was about to start work, Duchás (part of the National Parks and Wildlife Service) came out and stopped him; saying that an environmental impact statement needed to be done, Nolan said.

“All that impact statement should read is ’emergency flood relief’. These are all educated people making the decisions; there’s an old saying; education is no substitute for intelligence.

It’s not tomorrow or the next day it’s this minute that the council needs to give go ahead to release more water; it’s urgent.

“There’s a risk that land will flood if they drain it more, but we’ve agreed to let it go in a controlled manner with the ability to block it again if there’s problems down stream,

“The manmade dump needs to go in the long term but simple remedial works would have alleviated everyones troubles,” he said.

Nolan said that the flooding has also highlighted how selfish some people are.

“Some landowners have been onto the council threatening that they don’t want water into their land; land will dry but homes won’t dry that fast.”

Agriland contacted Galway County Council however, they were unavailable for comment.