Four years after a Maghera family’s home was left teetering on a river’s edge when their back garden collapsed during flash flooding, a retainer wall has finally been erected.
With the help of local representatives Patsy McGlone and Martin Kearney from the SDLP, Kieran and Patricia Flanagan will soon be able to step out their back door without the worry of falling into the adjacent river.
The Mid Ulster politicians helped the couple in their “protracted negotiations with DARD [Department of Agriculture and Rural Development] representatives”.
The garden’s collapse “followed a period of unprecedented heavy rainfall and swollen river levels” leaving the Flanagans fearing for the safety of their home.
“After the wall and bank collapsed there was nothing between our back door step and the river. I feared for the safety of the house” Kieran said.
“The past four years have been something of a nightmare for the whole family but the matter has finally been resolved.
After the wall and bank collapsed there was nothing between our back door step and the river. I feared for the safety of the house - Kieran Flanagan
“I would like to thank my political representatives Patsy McGlone and particularly our local councillor Martin Kearney.”
Patricia Flanagan added: “I can hardly believe I will have the use of our back yard again. This has been a huge relief and I feel I can now get back to a normal life once again.”
Speaking about the four-year fight to have a supporting wall installed, SDLP councillor Martin Kearney said: “My colleagues and I in the SDLP office in Maghera have been working with Kieran and Patricia for some time.
“The Flanagans found themselves in a terrible predicament but I am happy that the matter has finally been resolved and hopefully they can put this very stressful situation behind them.”
“We are delighted for both the Flanagans and their neighbours who have endured such a traumatic experience for the last four years.”
SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone added: “It is great to see progress being made at this site, and I would like to thank DARD officials who sat through lengthy meetings with us to find a solution to this situation, which I am happy to say we have done to the great relief of Kieran and Patricia.”