Kinnego floods causes £500k of damage

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More than £500k worth of damage has been caused by flooding at Kinnego Marina shops and calls have been made for Assembly ministers to visit.

Businessmen at the Marina have asked that Rivers Agency boss David Porter visit the afflicted shops to see for himself the damage that has been done.

Neil Sands of Sands Marine at Kinnego Marina

Neil Sands of Sands Marine at Kinnego Marina

Though the water has slightly receded, the shops are still submerged in several inches of muddy water.

Manus Lappin of Evolution Motorworks said though the water is slowing going down all the businesses at Kinnego remain under water.

“It was interesting to hear David Porter, Chief Executive of the Rivers Agency suggest that there was no engineering solution when there are several, well known and highly publicised engineering solutions.

“I would like to ask Mr Porter if a country like Holland which is two thirds below sea level can keep water at bay, why can Lough Neagh with one point not keep the water at bay.

Neil Sands of Sands Marine at Kinnego Marina

Neil Sands of Sands Marine at Kinnego Marina

“There are several solutions which include many of the things he has dismissed in isolation. Dredging used in connection with widening of the Bann and creating a better flow of the water out as well as the flow of the water in.

“What the Rivers Agency’s models dont take into account is the amount of water yet to flow into Lough Neagh from the outlying fields and tributaries.

Paul Quinn of South Shore Marine and Diesel said to date the government has done nothing.

“Not one minister or anyone of any significance from any departments including the Rivers Agency has appeared on site to see really what the damage is here.

“I feel that at least some of the ministers should have visited. I feel David Porter should be here to see the extent of the damage and give us answers, proper answers - not hedging round the real issues here.”

Nigel Sands of Sands Marine said: “It’s been disastrous for us as a business. We are now coming up into two weeks into this. We haven’t been able to trade for two weeks. This is going to have a real detrimental affect on the business,”

He said there were comments by some leaders and politicians which appeared insensitive.

David Cochrane of Custom Covers said he had only opened for business on January 4 and it was that evening that the water started to rise.

“We have been flooded out from then. I can’t even get a telephone connected to here because the company is saying ‘We can’t come in because you are flooded’.

“We have no broadband. We have no business. The work just cannot be done. There are four inches of water inside.”

Manus Lappin believes there should have been earlier warnings from the relevant agencies.

“The forecasting systems which the Rivers Agency and the government bodies have access to are highly superior to anything we would have access to.

“We knew there was storms coming but we weren’t able to predict when they were coming.

“At the point that the Rivers Agency lost control of Lough Neagh, which is effectively what seems to have happened, would it not have been pertinent for them to issue a statement to the Lough Shore community urging us to take measures.

“That could possibly have given us as week’s head start.

“We are used to seeing the levels of the lough rise and fall throughout the winter. We are here day and daily throughout the year and we didn’t expect this to be any different. Normally the levels rise and fall but this time they just kept coming and we feel that if we had been given some sort of notification, we could have possibly alleviated a lot of this damage by safeguarding our properties.”