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Missing drain key caused havoc for Skibbereen hotel

September 2nd, 2020 10:05 PM

By Jackie Keogh

Eileen and Louise O'Donovan of the Eldon Hotel talking to the Taoiseach. (Photo: Anne Minihane)

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PERSISTENT flooding is threatening to rob the O’Donovan family of their livelihood at the Eldon Hotel in Skibbereen.

When Eileen O’Donovan and her daughter, Louise, who manages the hotel, met the Taoiseach, Michaél Martin – while he was on walkabout in Skibbereen after Wednesday night’s flood – they did not mince their words.

Their message was that the flood damage sustained to their hotel which they had lavishly renovated was entirely preventable and that Cork County Council should be held accountable.

Flood water started coming down from The Cutting shortly before 9.30pm and within minutes the flood level was thigh-high. Louise recalled how her dad, Michael, was ‘on his hands and knees in the flood searching for the opening to a storm drain and an ordinary drain directly in front of the hotel.’ She said the Council and the local fire brigade are the only two organisations that have keys to the drains and they initially were precluded from venturing out during a ‘status red’ weather warning.

However, she did say that fire brigade personnel arrived about 20 minutes later and lifted the manhole covers, but the Council staff didn’t arrive until 1.15am. Louise believes that the damage caused last Wednesday night was ‘preventable’ and that Cork County Council should be held accountable.

She said: ‘We were flooded in 2016, just before we opened, and again in November 2018 under almost exactly the same circumstances.Throughout all of this we have repeatedly asked the Council for a key. We could have opened the drains ourselves and significantly reduced the amount of damage caused.’

The hotel is now open but family’s stress levels are still high with meetings with their insurer, the assessor keen to survey the damage, their bank manager and solicitor.

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