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The Afternoon ShowRTÉ One, Weekdays, 4.00pm


Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Last November, like many other families in the Ballinasloe area, Carol McCann, her husband Colm, and their two young girls had to leave their home because it was under attack from the November flooding that struck the country. The flooding happened during the middle of the night, and the family left the house in boats that was brought to their door by the emergency services. This was traumatic on the young girls.. Leaving their home was very difficult for the family who were worried about where they might stay over Christmas.. It has also been hard on the family over the past few months as they tried to juggle their work along with repairing their house..

On the Afternoon Show today, we return to Ballinasloe and check in with the McCann family to see how that have coped over the past few months.

Michael Tully, Chairman Balinasloe Flood Alleviation Community Project, a group that was set up to deal with the problem of future flooding in the Galway area.

Tell us why you started the group Michael? (Michael is a teacher and he and his wife and two young children had to move out of his house in the Ballinasloe area for a few months and live in temporary accommodation - he has just moved back in two weeks ago)

We started this because people are worried about the floods returning again and we just want to do something about it..
We started with a meeting before Christmas and in January we had a public meeting and there was about 80 local people at the public meeting, we have had about four public meeting since and there have been large numbers attending..

At the meeting we have done a number of things - we have brought a 'loss adjuster' in to help people who have been a victim of the floods to recover their loss.

We have also brought an insurance broker in to help people deal with their insurance - insurance have become a really big issue.

What are you hearing in relation to insurance from the local people?

Insurance companies are afraid to give people a quote until they (the insurance companies) know what the local Government is doing about the flooding. People have also to pay very high premiums.. This is not just people in Ballinasloe, that were affected by the flooding, but people in the Ballinasloe area that just have an address in Ballinasloe, they're not are also not getting cover

As part of your campaign, the Ballinasloe flood group are carrying out a piece of research that you hope to present to the Government to combat future flooding, can you tell us about that?
Yes, two weeks ago we started on a study.. We have a range of people involved, they include experts from University College Galway.

We have one of the professors involved from the University - It's called a hydrological study, we have land surveyors, water surveyors, and river surveyors involved as well.. We also have our own consultant that will be able to simulate the floods from 2009 and look at the danger areas again. basically, we're doing this to prevent this happening again.. We will present this to Government and we hope be able to get the chance to go to Oireachtas Committee meetings with this so that a flood relief barrier can be brought to Ballinasloe or an alternative.

As we saw n the VT, this is just one in a hundred families in the Balinasloe area?

Yes, I would say that there were about 100 families in Ballinasloe and there have been up to thousands of families affected across the country. it was a difficult time for the town. It was strange at Christmas, I was driving down through estates and some of the estates were empty and there were no lights on during the night only street lights...

What kind of damage has been done to Ballinasloe during the past few months with the flooding?

The flood came right into the town, and there is still business that has been affected, some pubs have not yet opened and they're still closed. it has some a lot of damage to the town

There was one good news story for you in the flooding Michael, you found out that your wife was pregnant?

Yes, the flooding in Ballinalsoe happened on a Thursday night, and my wife announced that she was pregnant on the Friday - the day after flood hit us . My wife is called Helen and we have two young children, Jessicia who is three and Matthew who is one.