Laurence Fallon, Ballagh, Rahara

Suckler and sheep farmer

“At its peak, it is higher than ever before and that’s with another three months of rain to come. This has been going on since 2015.

“This is an SAC but since 2015 all of the rare plants we were protecting are now dead. It’s extraordinary that the people policing us to farm it don’t seem to have any responsibility to restore it to its natural balance,” he said.

In order for the lake to drain and pass over the surrounding bank, Fallon said it needs to rise “another 15ft”.

“That will double the size of the lake. It will take out houses and farms. It will decimate the viability of up to 40 farms.”

Fallon has “ongoing issues” with payments for his land from the Department of Agriculture as a result of his land being flooded and the area he can farm is being “reduced constantly”.

He has lost grazing ground and land he would make silage on. “In a few years’ time there won’t be a Ballagh. It will be like Berlin, with east and west Ballagh, with no interaction between the two.”

Leo Kenny, Rahara

Sheep farmer

Leo Kenny had planned to house his 38 sheep next week, ahead of lambing in late March. The flooding is threatening his plans.

“The flood is at the back wall of the shed, right up to the wall. It will take another half a metre before it will come in. Normally, it doesn’t stop rising until the end of March. It’s in the hands of the gods with rain now. I’ll have to lamb outside if it keeps rising. I’ve had to take hay out of the shed and I’ve risen the floor a bit in the hope the water wouldn’t rise above it.

“The flood is a few inches off the peak in 2016, which was never seen in anyone’s lifetime before.”

Padraig Beattie, Rahara

Sheep farmer

“My house is on the borderline of flooding and the yard is a foot and a half higher than the house.

“I put up a brand new sheep shed through TAMS last year. This is my first winter in it. This year, it will be on the borderline of flooding. If this was March the shed would be clear of flooding but we’re only in the middle of January now.

“I have 160 ewes. If the shed floods, I’ll have to do outside lambing or sell some at the mart. I couldn’t lamb all of them outside. I bought 10 more hoggets last autumn, the shed can hold 180.

“An overflow pipe is the answer [to our problems].”