Cllr. Frank McBrearty Jnr says flood prevention works are urgently needed for the Raphoe and Lifford areas.
“Sorting out the recurrent flooding problems in these areas has to be our top priority,” he said. “It’s an issue that should have been dealt with years ago.”
While his father had ensured that some works were carried out in Raphoe in the past, he said, the approach into the town from the Mart side is still very bad. “In the last 30 years, Raphoe has been flooded more than 70 times. It would probably take in the region of €200,000 to put in the measures needed to prevent flooding there in future,” Cllr. McBrearty noted.
“The area near the roundabout in Lifford is also particularly bad and is constantly being flooded. No proper drainage system was ever put in place to deal with all the building development that went on in the Lifford area. It would probably cost around €500,000 to sort that out.
Flooding throughout both the Finn and Deele Valleys has been widespread this year. In mid-December, the cellar of a thatched pub in Convoy, Mannie’s Bar, was flooded with more than a foot of water.
The same heavy spell of rain saw the River Finn rise to dangerous levels. Thousands of acres of land were submerged and livestock, mainly sheep, were washed away when river banks between Fintown and Lifford burst. One farmer commented: “It was like watching the Japanese tsunami earlier this year, with water everywhere and bales of hay passing and sheep going down the river all day.” On that occasion, the Finn overflowed at Navenny behind Finn Park and almost reached the top of the Dreenan Bridge.
Cllr. McBrearty commented: “It’s been well highlighted over the last 18 months that the Finn Valley and the Stranorlar Electoral Area as a whole, has been starved of funding. Raphoe, Ballindrait, Rossgier, Castlefin, St Johnston and the Lifford areas have suffered severely due to the lack of funding, either to put in measures to prevent flooding or to deal with the problems created by repeated flooding.
“Many businesses in Lifford are suffering from flooding every time there are heavy rains. It’s getting to the stage that some of the businesses are becoming uninsurable.
“It’s the same in Raphoe. A number of businesses here are at risk. Times are tough enough for business people. They can’t absorb these extra costs. These are ratepayers yet this massive problem is being ignored. It’s simply not good enough.
“I want to see money spent this year to start dealing with this problem once and for all.”