Ardoyne residents call for drainage overhaul after flooding

Residents in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast have called for an overhaul of their drainage systems after heavy rain caused some of the worst flooding seen there in years.

The clean-up operation is continuing, with many households left counting the cost.

Northern Ireland Water, who manage the drainage, insist its systems did not fail and have blamed the flooding on intense downpours.

The junction of Brompton Park and Etna Drive was turned into a cesspit following heavy rain and residents had to do whatever they could to save their homes from being flooded.

"All of a sudden the streets started to flood, the drains all started to come up, and there was rats and there was feces and that's what you were standing on," one resident said.

Three days later and the stink is still there.

Debbie Neeson, a resident, said: "It was rising up, the drains obviously blocked, and the water's just coming up the driveways, right up to the front doors.

"I was worried it was going to come into the house."

Businesses have also been left to pick up the pieces.

Stephen Conley from the Foggy Brew spoke of his fears about the time it will take to reopen his premises after it was hit by flooding.

The building on Berry Street in the city centre was severely flooded following heavy rain last week.

Stephen told UTV about how overwhelming the situation is.

“It just flooded in the space of 10 to 15 minutes, it went from nothing to nearly knee height,” he explained.

“It was just a nightmare.”

“Practically 90 per cent of my floor is gone, I’m in the process of getting the last bit of it out.

“Skirting, paint, wallpaper, stock, fridges, practically everything that you need to run a business.”

He added: “It’s the shock at the start and now it’s just um, a mixture of everything, you’re sad you’re worried, a bit angry after everything that’s went on in the last couple of years and now this.

“The worry now is not knowing timewise when we can open.”

He said he was worried that drains were still blocked meaning potential for further flooding if there is more heavy rain.

A meeting of multi-agencies is planned for Tuesday to discuss the infrastructure in Ardoyne, and those living in the area say it couldn't come soon enough.