Clonmany native Bernard Mullins talks about the help his family received in the aftermath of the Donegal Floods from the Irish Red Cross.
Bernard and Bébhinn Mullins from Clonmany in Donegal are just one family who were badly affected by the Donegal Floods. “Basically in a nutshell the entire downstairs was ruined,” explains Bernard. “Everything on the ground floor had to be gotten rid of – we had to take away plaster from the walls and the kitchen couches were ruined. We’ve one bedroom downstairs and that was ruined – the wardrobe, the en-suite, all the tiles had to be taken out. You see these things on television but you really don’t contemplate how much water can cause damage – how it seeps up the plaster.” Bernard says the paint is “still bubbling off walls, we still have the dehumidifiers on the go in the house, it’s throughout the cavities, the insulation, the foundations – everything is soaked. It just literally wreaks havoc.”
What makes it worse is that Bernard and Bébhinn had just installed a new kitchen six weeks before the flood. However, they are extremely grateful for the help they received at the time. “I mean this honestly, the kindness that we were shown from local businesses and neighbours and the likes of the Red Cross and St Vincent de Paul was unbelievable,” says Bernard. “The flood was such a shock, and losing everything but every single day after, I’m not messing, you’d have people calling to the door with either a dinner for you or a voucher for a dinner in a restaurant or vouchers for paint, and every day we were just like ‘oh my God that’s amazing’, so we were really lucky.”
The Mullins were visited several times at home by Irish Red Cross volunteers. “My first dealings were with Patrick Doherty,” says Bernard. “I was in the house one day, I was clearing plaster off the walls and Patrick called to the house and he just introduced himself to me as being from the Irish Red Cross and explained why he was out. I gave him a run-down on the neighbours – about who was affected, and I brought him into the house and showed him the damages.”
Bernard and Bébhinn then received €500 cash from the Irish Red Cross. “When something like this happens you don’t expect anything off anybody,” says Bernard, “so when you get handed anything it’s amazing, you’re just grateful for every penny you get, or voucher,” explains Bernard. “It’s been brilliant.”
Patrick Doherty called to the house twice more after that to check in, and another Red Cross volunteer – Patrick McGonagle – called into the Mullins another night to see if Bernard and Bébhinn needed anything.
“As a family we’re very grateful,” says Bernard. “If I’m walking past an Irish Red Cross bucket or something I’ll be putting money in – we’ve seen how beneficial they are as an organisation. We’re just very grateful.”