WATCH: Mountmellick under water as people are evacuated from homes and businesses are flooded

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Email:

lynda.kiernan@leinsterexpress.ie


Flood waters from the Owenass River and its tributary are still rising and streaming through Mountmellick's streets and into homes and businesses this evening November 22.

With not enough sandbags, people are using blankets and duvets in a desperate attempt to stop water coming in their doors.

Therese Dowling was evacuated from her home at the top of Manor Lane, and stood shivering on O'Moore Street watching her neighbours being rescued by the Civil Defence with a tractor and a dingy.

"The last time it was bad was 1990, but this came up so fast. It was ok at 10.30 this morning, but in an hour it was in the door, it came from nowhere. Both rivers burst and we are in the middle," she said.

The Cara Rescue dog centre is based on Manor Lane, and Laois Civil Defence had to rescue them all over again, with 20 stray dogs taken out via boat. 

"It's the worst I've seen in Laois, houses are just destroyed, some of them weren't able to get flood insurance, now they are facing Christmas," said one Civil Defence volunteer.

Tony Dunne and his three year old daughter Holly were lifted out by tractor from their home in Manor Grove.

"I think the house is alright, I am getting sandbags but the water is still rising. Four houses are destroyed in my estate already," he said.

Kerry Van der Merwe is living on O'Moore Street, and was standing in her bare feet on the road asking people for sandbags.

"My shoes got wet from this morning, I have stuck blankets at the door. My seven year old son had to come home from Barnashrone school when it closed, but my dad's car got stuck and a tractor had to pull it out. I have had no advice or anyone talking to us. I have a ten month old as well, I'm so stressed, I am worried about the electrics in the house I rent. If the water goes any higher, there is no-one to help me. My son is scared and crying, we've never seen anything like this, we moved from South Africa. The street should be closed, the cars are pushing water in our doors," she said.

Fifth year student Ciara Hogan was among the people standing beside Watchornes unable to get home to her family in Manor Lane, waiting on the far side of the floods.

"I'm tired and cold, the rain makes you miserable. I think this is the worst it's been, we usually get it bad in Manor Lane before it hits anyone else, but it's ridiculous. It was flowing out of people's houses as I walked down from school, I was trying not to lose my footing," she said.

Kathleen O'Neill and her two dogs were brought by tractor from her home on Manor road, now under two feet of water.

"I knew we would be flooded the way the water was coming, we tried our best to keep it out, it doesn't work. All those years of work in my house for nothing. What can you do, there's more than us affected," she said.

Up the street, businesses like Breda's Gift Shop were desperately brushing waves of water from the passing cars away from their door, and shoring it up with sandbags.

Shortly after at 4.30pm, gardaí blocked off the road completely, with cars and lorries then backed up through the whole town.