Flood-hit Clare family devastated as son collapses from exhaustion

By David Raleigh in Clonlara

A mother of three broke down today as she was forced to leave her flooded home to accompany one of her sons in an ambulance after he collapsed from exhaustion after working all week to protect their home.

Widow, Bridget Kinsella, fought back tears as she demanded to know how Clare County Council signed off on planning permission for their house in Springfield, Clonlara, close to where floodwaters reached up to six feet deep.

"Some eejit in an office OK'd this on a flood plain," she cried out as she walked to the waiting ambulance.

"One of the boys brought home plans from school that were from medieval times, and this was a flood plain then, so I don't know how someone could have signed off on this in an office in Clare County Council," she said.

An ambulance was called to the house after 16-year-old Luke Kinsella became weak, however paramedics had to wait for members of the Irish Navy, who were helping out in the area, to walk him to the ambulance, as it could not drive on the road which had been covered in nearly two feet of water.

Becoming emotional Bridget said: "He's been working like a man, he's only 16."

The strain was visible on the face of Jake, 15, who, along with his twin brother Philip, was "up until 2'o clock in the morning" laying sandbags.

The twins, along with their older brother, who hopes to sit his Leaving Certificate exams next summer, have spent all week at home preparing a cordon of sand instead of studying in school for their junior certificate exams.

"It's one thing after another for us. My husband committed suicide three years ago, just up there at the bridge," their mother said.

Holding back tears, she added: "My husband wanted to live out here, and I didn't mind where I lived. But Jesus, oh God, he's dead now, and I'm left with this, and three children."

Joe Cooney, local Fine Gael Councillor said: "I don't know why planning was given or how planning was given. It was before my time in the Council, so I don't know to be honest. I can't answer that question."

Local Fianna Fáil TD, Timmy Dooley said: "You can look back and try to pass judgement, but the fact of the matter is the houses have been granted permission."

Neighbours and friends have rallied around the family of four after the floods crept up to their front door last night.

"You really appreciate neighbours at a time like this. My neighbours stayed up all night, and my neighbours from where I lived before came out here last night and stayed pumping (water) all night," Bridget said.


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