Drains branded “inadequate” after Derry church floods

A priest has warned the drains in the Ballymagroarty area are inadequate after his church was flooded for the second time in less than three years last night.

Fr Paddy O’Kane from Holy Family Church was speaking as the clean-up effort got resumed yesterday.

Fr Paddy O'Kane pictured at Holy Family Church in Ballymagroarty during the clean-up operation.

Fr Paddy O'Kane pictured at Holy Family Church in Ballymagroarty during the clean-up operation.

Children from the neighbouring Holy Family Primary School are set to make their First Communions at the school on Saturday, and Fr Paddy said he was confident they would be able to go ahead with the ceremony, if need be in the half of the church which escaped the water damage.

The flood waters started coming in through the rear doors of the chapel during a Requiem Mass on Tuesday evening.

Those who were attending the Mass and other local people worked through until midnight to try to rid the church of as much water as they could.

One local man estimated that they must have taken out 50 gallons of water in that period.

Numerous wooden pews have had to be lifted and stacked at the back of the church, to allow for the drainage works.

Three de-humidifiers and several industrial suction machines were still being used today to deal with the flooding, which has rendered half of the church unusable.

Fr Paddy said: “We are at the bottom of a hill and the drains here are inadequate.

“The drains rather than taking water in were spewing water out. So we are picking up the rain water coming down from the school and the hill behind and from the road, the road surface, the road drainage system.

“We don’t know yet whether the carpet will have to be replaced.”

He added: “this is the second time it happened. It happened in December 2011 and it was worse then, the whole church was flooded. At that time there was blocked drain.

“But the drainage is inadequate in this area anyway.”

Fr Paddy thanked all those who have helped out since the flooding began.