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Business owners ‘left with no Government help’ after Storm Debi

There will be no businesses operating in Clarinbridge by the middle of this year unless urgent action is taken immediately to address flooding in the village.

That was the warning from Fianna Fáil Councillor Martina Kinane, who said business owners had received no help in the wake of terrible damage caused by Storm Debi last November.

Some local businesses had decided to close permanently, including one which she recently learned had taken the decision not to reopen this January.

“I’m really, really concerned about the viability of the business community. The Government has to address this. There’s an anomaly around the humanitarian funding that is just shocking,” she told this week’s Loughrea Municipal District meeting.

“One business has eight people working for him, how the guy is standing I don’t know. He’s still waiting for help. I’m hoping to raise this with it with the Minister for Finance Michael McGrath.”

The councillor said with the heavy rain during Christmas, businesses were issuing WhatsApp messages begging the local community to come out and place sandbags outside their premises.

The lack of correspondence from Galway County Council over support for the devastated owners was “shocking”, she fumed.

“Action has to be taken now. We can’t wait any longer. I don’t know how much longer they will stay opened. In four or five months’ time we may not have a business community in Clarinbridge.”

News that the director of services in charge of flooding was leaving his post was a further blow to any progress being made, she insisted.

She tabled a motion calling on Galway County Council to assign a member of staff to address short-term measures to alleviate flooding in the village and singled out businesses such as in The Bridge Centre in the village, and Moran’s on the Weir, that needed support.

Cllr Joe Byrne said the motion should be extended to all areas in South Galway, pointing out that 26 businesses and homes had been flooded in Kinvara during the same storm.

Flood gates arranged for premises on the quays should be increased in height as they had not stopped rising water when Debi arrived.

The Fine Gael representative said water levels in South Galway were rising at worrying levels over the last two months.

Cllr Shane Curley (FF) asked if a survey of water tables could be undertaken in the municipal district and those that are blocked cleared. A road near his home was flooded as a result of a closed or clogged water table.

Executive Engineer Gerard Haugh said if Galway County Council had extra funding, this was a task they would like to look at to fund a specialised crew but all their budget was already allocated.

The motion was passed unanimously.

(Photo by Joe O’Shaughnessy: Some of the furniture and contents of Poppyseed Cafe in Clarinbridge which was flooded during Storm Debi).

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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