Young family landlocked in Castlerea

Public health nurse visiting baby by tractor

A young family, with a newborn child, have been completely landlocked at their house in Castlerea recently because of deep flooding on the road to their house.

  The situation has become so serious that there are fears for the safety of their child, who was born prematurely, with the public health nurse having to come to the house by tractor.

  Joanne and David Flanagan built their beautiful house at South Park Demesne, Castlerea, in 2008. It’s located on a hill, but the road to it has been constantly liable to flooding.

  At present, the road is submerged in 4 ft. of water, while the land either side of the road is submerged under in 12 ft. of water.

  The most recent incident started the day Joanne came home from hospital after giving birth to her premature child, Matthew, now three weeks old.

  “I came home from hospital on Friday, December 4, and that was the day of the storm,” said Joanne, referring to the notorious Storm Desmond that brought an almost unprecedented level of rainfall to parts of Ireland.

  “And then, the next day, the flood was a bit out on the road and then, on the Sunday, the road was totally covered with water.

  “I have been marooned in the house ever since.

  “I am here two weeks, relying on a neighbour to come on a tractor to bring the public health nurse into the baby.

  “If anything happened the child in the middle of the night, we were frigged. Ambulance or fire brigade, no one could get to us.

  “I am only after coming out of hospital after spending seven weeks in hospital. I had complications with him.”

  Joanne and David have another child, Lily, who is four, but it has been a struggle for her to attend St Bride’s National School at Ballintubber recently.

  “The child missed a week of school – I kept her at home because it’s an awful lot of hassle on my neighbour,” said Joanne, speaking of the neighbour who regularly comes to their aid.

  “It takes him nearly an hour to come down through the fields in his tractor.”

  The scenario has caused problems for her husband, David, too, as he tries to maintain his daily job as a construction worker in Tuam.

  “I have to walk through the field in the morning over to the corner, with a light on my head naturally, because I leave the house at 6.30 am,” said David, a brother of MEP Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan.

  Roscommon County Council has risen the road to their house a couple of times in the past, but that hasn’t solved the problem. Their most recent suggestion, Joanne said, was more radical.

  “The council wanted us to move out of the house, for health and safety reason, and they would get alternative accommodation for us,” said Joanne.

  “I wasn’t going leaving my house with a new baby – sure, God know where they would put us.”

  She was very critical of the local authority. “This is going on two weeks now and the council have done nothing for us,” she said.

  The council could not be reached for comment on the matter.