Body will now ‘prioritise’ flood action in inner city district almost a week after deluge

Council to act on Markets damage

By Paul Ainsworth

C OUNCIL officials have finally agreed to visit the Markets area to assess flood damage and issue funding for repairs, thanks to a timely reminder from the South Belfast News. Residents of Friendly Street, who fought in vain to keep the stinking floodwaters at bay, have so far been less than impressed with the response of Belfast City Council, despite their area being a stone’s throw from City Hall.

Locals awoke the following morning to find the council had delivered a small quantity of sand to the area for ‘make your own’ sandbags, while they were also informed council staff would be visiting homes to assess damage and provide information on funding opportunities for repairs to homes.

Yet by Tuesday of this week, almost a full week after the heavens opened, Markets residents were still waiting for a call, and are even keeping sandbags at their doors in case of further heavy rain.

Friendly Street resident Tony Drain, whose home and garage were flooded with sewage-contaminated water, said locals had “lost faith” in council assistance.

“They drove round here at 3am after the rain had stopped, and left enough sand for two per house,” he said.

In my case, the night before, the water was all through the garage and in our hallway, and we were armed with brushes desperately trying to push the water out, but it was coming in as fast as we could sweep.”

In the following days, Tony and neighbours were in contact with the council to enquire about flood repair funds and were told to expect details imminently.

“People were ringing all weekend and were being told they would come, but there was no sign of them. I know that council staff park in the Markets during the day, so they could certainly see we were affected, but still nobody has come anywhere near us.”

However, when contacted by the South Belfast News this week, a council spokesman insisted Friendly Street, and other Markets streets affected, would now be “prioritised” for attention in the coming days.


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