Communities demand action after floods

By Róise Collins

AS heavy rain battered down across the county on Saturday evening many homes and businesses held their breath and braced for what they feared was history repeating itself.

Castlefinn, Raphoe and the surrounding area yet again felt the brunt of the unforgiving showers. In Raphoe alone it was reported that close to 80 mm of rain fell on Saturday night which equates to a typical month’s worth of rainfall.


Coyles Centra were one of the many businesses in the town affected by the flash flooding, they shared how it was frustrating and shocking for history to repeat itself and to see that Raphoe is still not able to defend itself against floods.

McGlynn’s Restaurant in Castlefinn were also severely impacted, they told the Donegal News how the all too familiar flooding left them terrified.

Sheena McGlynn described how water pooled in the centre of the town and with each passing car, waves came crashing against the door of their business.

She said they could not get the Gardaí to close the road, and that local volunteers were the ones who stepped in and put cones in place to prevent traffic driving through and causing more damage to homes and businesses.

She wholeheartedly thanked everyone in the town who rallied to support them, including the local farmers who were pumping water late into Sunday morning.

“We can’t thank them all enough for what they done. If it wasn’t for them we would have been destroyed.”

Ms McGlynn said they were left frustrated by the county council’s response or lack thereof and explained how they were left to fend for themselves.


“There was nobody even answering the phone,” she said.

She added how they repeatedly called the council’s emergency helpline yesterday (Sunday) morning with no answer.

Ms McGlynn said they had a lucky escape this weekend but questioned where they stand if this were to happen again, as those affected by previous flooding are no longer covered by their insurance.


“The last time it happened the council were promising they would sort something out but there has been nothing since,” she said.

The McGlynn family are calling on the local authority to sort out the recurring problem.

Local councillors have also shared their concerns regarding the council’s response to the recurring flooding.

Local Councillor Gary Doherty explained how the Castlefinn Flood Relief Scheme was awarded almost €2 million and work has been on-going since late 2020 to identify and design a scheme to protect all areas of Castlefinn from flooding.

Cllr Doherty added that given the repeated instances of flooding on the N15 outside McGlynn’s Restaurant, he is demanding that a portion of the scheme is fast tracked.

Councillor Patrick McGowan has also made calls for the local authority to take more proactive action on localised flooding in towns and roads in his constituency.

Cllr McGowan used the flooding at Drumfergus, Killygordon earlier this year as an example. He explained how the heavy rain washed away a long stretch of the road surface, the local road office quickly repaired the road but did nothing to tackle the obvious underlying cause of the flooding, he said.


The councillor said the repairs were a waste of taxpayers’ money as the area flooded again this weekend.

“The road workers and emergency services are faced with the aftermath of bad decision making and are to be praised for having to go to the same well known locations time and again to do clean-ups and repairs that were caused by known problems.

“This time it was Castlefinn, Raphoe and Drumfergus but the next time it could be anywhere,” he said.

Another local representative Cllr Frank McBrearty Jnr shared similar concerns.

“The monies that have been wasted in the flood studies by Donegal County Council over the decades would have constructed the flood protection that the town needs today. The people and businesses of Raphoe cannot get Flood Protection Insurance and yes Donegal County Council has certainly played their part in not addressing or funding this flooding problem,” he said.

“I am now demanding the proper levels of funding to address the damage caused by these flash floods and the funding to construct proper flood prevention mechanisms within the town. Donegal County Council must now put together a co-ordinated emergency plan and do so in conjunction with the community and businesses of Raphoe Town. This is something that is sadly lacking which was very evident last night during the flooding when people could not avail of sand bags,” he said.

Cllr McBrearty is now calling on the Chief Executive of Donegal County Council to come to Raphoe and meet the people affected by the flooding. He is also demanding funding to address both the damage caused and the further flooding threats facing local businesses.

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