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Postmistress Breda delivered to safety by rescuers on a mission

August 25th, 2020 8:00 PM

By Jackie Keogh

Deirdre and Breda Hodnett whose house and post office was flooded. (Photo: Andy Gibson)

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FIREFIGHTERS on a mercy mission to assist an elderly postmistress in Rathbarry, described how the roads they were driving on were like rubble.

Des Quinn, station officer with Skibbereen Fire Brigade, said that although Rathbarry is not their area they responded to the 2.30am shout out last Saturday morning because the Clonakilty crew was in Rosscarbery, dealing with the flood there.

‘Some of the roads we were travelling on were eaten away,’ Des said. ‘From Lisavaird to Rathbarry – a road that was resurfaced about six months ago – the whole road was torn up. It was like driving on gravel.’

Des said he believes the road was damaged as a result of the rain on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, but the deluge on Friday night left the road surface ‘rutted from the sheer force of the water tearing down through it.’

With Met Éireann estimating that Rosscarbery had 98.4mm of localised rain fall on Friday, August 14th, the station officer said: ‘Nothing can take four inches. If Skibbereen – before the flood relief works were carried out – got two inches in two hours, the town typically would flood.’

Des said they had already travelled through Connonagh, which was flooded too, to assist Breda Hodnett (76), who has been the postmistress there for the last 51 years, as well as her daughter-in-law, Deirdre, by clearing the flood water from the premises, and, when that was done, they went to assist at Connonagh.

Deirdre Hodnett admitted she panicked when she saw the rising water and called for help because Breda had only recently left hospital after suffering a broken femur.

She described her mother-in-law as being ‘the first to help people so it was not surprising that so many locals turned up to help us after the fire crew left at 4am, and we were able to reopen the shop again that very morning.’

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