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Minister urged to visit destroyed homes

THE Minister for Infrastructure Nichola Mallon has been urged to visit Strabane and those residents of the Ballycolman whose homes have once again been flooded.

Locally, politicians have rallied to the cause of the householders in the wake of recent flash flooding, the second such incident in as many months.

A meeting was held on Monday of this week between residents, the mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council and a number of local politicians to discuss the best way forward.

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“I also visited homes in the area to see the damage first hand and I offered all of the residents my full support,” Mayor Brian Tierney explained.

“I have assured the residents that I will be doing everything I can, and that as a council we will continue to work with our partner agencies, including the lead agencies NI Water and DFI Rivers, to tackle this issue head on.”|

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin MLA Maolíosa McHugh says the subsidence and buckling of a section footpath at the bottom of the Ballycolman Estate, triggered during the recent intense rainfall further re-enforces the need for a completely comprehensive re-assessment of the entire drainage system in the area.

Maolíosa McHugh said, “I have written to Roads Service asking that the area around the sunken sewer cover be secured as it presents a hazard.

“I have also written to NI Water asking that it immediately investigate this problem as part of a comprehensive re-assessment of the wider drainage system and at the bottom of the Ballycolman Estate which is required as a matter of urgency. This re-assessment must examine the integrity and capacity of the sewage/storm system and operation of the pumping station.”

He added, “MP Órfhlaith Begley has also written to Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon requesting that she prioritise a visit to Strabane and for her to bring a much needed focus from her department on the flooding problems in the area.”

Similarly, Cllr Paul Gallagher believes that the second flood now proves that the current drainage system isn’t fit for purpose.

“There is a council working group now and a meeting will be called with all the agencies to explain that there are things happening beyond the issues at the bottom of the Ballycolman. Like blocked drains at the top, damaged drains.

“We need to get a look at the whole infrastructure and remedy the water load that is hitting the bottom of the estate during heavy rain.

“There are also issues around compensation and liability for the damaged caused. Some of these properties can’t get insurance” he explained.

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The Strabane Chronicle is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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