Residents stranded after major flood destruction

BOHO residents have been left “outraged” once again, after Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon, stated that costs for a flood alleviation scheme, proposed by the local public, would “far outweigh” any benefits for the area despite the latest scenes of destruction caused by Storm Franklin.

Charlene Maguire who lives with her family on the Aghaherrish Road, in Boho, deemed the latest flooding crisis as an “accident waiting to happen” as elderly residents remain “cut off” from essential care and services, while families struggle to access schools and places of work.

“Only for our neighbour who lets us cross over his land by foot, we have absolutely no way out as our access is completely gone due to the flooding,” Charlene told the Herald.


“My car is parked about a mile away from the house, as we’ve had damaged cars before which obviously causes a financial strain.”

In a written response to the public petition put forward by MLA Jemma Dolan which addresses the flooding in Boho, Minister Mallon claimed that her department had established support to individual properties that may be “cut off” by flood water, however Charlene says that this could not be further from the truth.

“It just feels like we are constantly left alone and there needs to be more support for the people who are constantly impacted by the flooding,” said Charlene.

“Nobody has landed to see if we are ok, and at the start of the week it was up to us to try and get our bins out over a flood for them to be emptied because you need your waste removed, that’s what we pay for.

“My mother who also lives on my lane actually tripped last week in the kitchen and broke her arm and I said to my sister the other day, ‘thank god’ it didn’t happen this week as you wouldn’t be able to get an ambulance up here as the access is completely blocked off.

“There are people from this area who live on their own and who are completely vulnerable, yet the department says that it will cost too much money to even consider doing anything about it.”

Despite claims from the Department for Infrastructure (DFI) that flooding usually occurs in the area after “prolonged and heavy rainfall” Charlene argues that severe flooding to this extent can happen overnight.


“I went to bed on Saturday night and there was no flood, and I woke up Sunday morning and the lane now was completely covered, you physically couldn’t get a car out and it’s not as if we have any public transport here.

“The flood came up so quickly and the wind caused by the storm actually made it deeper and blew it further up. It’s that windy that the floods nearly have a current of its own.

“The children had to go out over the fields to get to school, and put waterproofs on over their uniform. Previously they’ve had to ferried across the fields by tractors which isn’t safe either. It’s all just a total disaster, the fields are like lakes.

When asked about what could be done in order to rectify the situation, Charlene said, “I’m not keeping my hopes up for anything changing anytime soon.

“This has been happening here since I was a young child, but the problem has escalated drastically over the years.

“Back years ago the rivers agency done drainage work and cleaned the rivers but that’s all stopped now and no doubt it’s down to lack of funding too.

“Plans for emergency services need to be put in place, there’s elderly people just down the road who receive daily home-help care and need to be hoisted in and out of bed, plans must be in place so that essential services like this are always available.

“All we want is a bit of support and consideration. It’s like we’re just forgotten about.

“God forbid if anyone down this lane took a heart attack, I don’t know how you would get an ambulance out here. We don’t like to think about them things, we try to our best to remain positive but if we don’t then who will?”

Jemma Dolan has criticised the Minister of Infrastructure for not taking flooding in Boho serious enough.

“With more flooding in Boho, the letter I recently received from the Minister of Infrastructure in response to my petition is quite frankly infuriating,” she told the Herald.

“It claims maintenance work will be carried out ‘by the end of the financial year!’

“This should have been carried out and completed right after the last flooding.

“The letter states ‘previous efforts’ to raise the road level to ‘prevent disruption’ has been unsuccessful. I know that and the residents of Boho know that it was unsuccessful.

“What must happen now is that more work to raise the road has to take place, with better engineering solutions to ensure that this time it is successful.

“In regards to the flood alleviation scheme ‘far outweighing any benefits.’ That is simply unacceptable.

“The Minister’s constituents in North Belfast would not be spoken to and dismissed like that and neither should the people of Boho.

“Flood alleviation schemes must be looked at again and further investigated. As well as the diversion of the Sillees there are other solutions such as upstream natural flood management.

“I will be raising these issues with the Minister once again and I will continue to raise the flooding in Boho.”

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