Derryall family ‘stranded’ as flood waters surround homes

The flooded grounds of Leo McKernan's house. INPT02-011
The flooded grounds of Leo McKernan's house. INPT02-011

A Portadown woman and her father, who have been marooned at their Farlough Road homes since New Year’s Eve, have paid tribute to staff from the Rivers Agency who have been taking it in shifts to pump the flood water away.

Sinead Morrow, a florist, has managed to leave her house at Derryall, close to the River Bann, just twice this week to get essential supplies while her dad Leo McKernan (69), who lives next door, has seen his bedroom, kitchen and bathroom flooded.

Speaking today (Thursday), Sinead said, “The Rivers Agency have had staff at daddy’s house 24 hours a day for the past four days manning the pumps. Someone from environmental health has been down to see the damage in the house. He’s going to have to get a new boiler, a new washing machine and goodness knows what else.

“I am lucky the water hasn’t got into my house but the septic tank and pipework are totally underwater. I have been afraid to turn on the heat so I have been lighting the fires instead.”

She added, “There has been family living here since 1947 and this type of flooding has never happened before. The fields would have flooded in the past but the water would never have got up to the house.”

Sinead has been unable to get supplies for her floristry business, and clients have been unable to call with her, resulting in her having to down turn jobs.

Her dad has been using his van for essential runs only, including taking Sinead’s son Michael (14) to the school bus.

Said Sinead, “Michael has autism and it’s been a bit stressful for him. He had to sit his first GCSE in Learning for Life and Work today so we had to make sure he got to school for that. He has had to miss his drama and music lessons, which he loves.

“I had also bought tickets to go and see Mary Poppins in Dublin, as part of his Christmas present, but we have had to cancel as I can’t get the car out. I also wouldn’t leave daddy on his own.”

Sinead first noticed the water getting dangerously close on New Year’s Eve - she looked out and the road had “disappeared” - but never anticipated how bad it would get. She said, “At one stage daddy and I were out in the middle of the night trying to dig a moat with a pick-axe and spade! The water was coming at us from all sides.”

Sinead has paid tribute to her neighbours who, she said, had been “fantastic”, and to Thomas Larkham from the SDLP who had been out to offer assistance.