Supporting Local News

Clarenbridge gets back in its feet – with no help from state yet

Flood-damaged businesses in Clarinbridge – slowly getting back on their feet just in time for Christmas – have received no state supports one month on from the devastation caused by Storm Debi.

Eleven retail units in the village, employing around 80 people, were temporarily closed following the November 13 storm which wreaked havoc in County Galway with a combination of 70mph winds, high tides, torrential rain and a sea surge.

Retailers have praised the immediate and ongoing community response from local people, who rallied to support businesses, but no Government aid has been paid yet to employers impacted by flooding.

The business community has appealed for the promised financial support – funnelled through Red Cross – to be fast-tracked, and for a permanent flood defence to be installed by Galway County Council.

Eleven retail units at the Bridge Centre impacted by water damage during Debi, included: Clarenbridge Lifestyle and Garden Centre; Meadows and Byrne; PoppySeed café; Lisa’s Health and Beauty; Symphony hair saloon; Londis; Clarinbridge Pharmacy; M&S Autos; Cooney’s barbers; Pizzamax; and The Natural Way health store.

“It was catastrophic. It had to be seen to be believed. It was hard to put words on the sheer destruction,” said Anne Forde of Poppyseed, which was shut for almost four weeks due to the damage.

“Afterwards we were back to shell and core, just concrete floors and walls. We lost most of our kitchen equipment, most of our furniture,” she said.

The café, established in 2008 and employing up to 20 full-time and part-time staff, reopened last Friday, thanks to a community effort.

“Christmas is critical for all small businesses. Everyone is very grateful to the people who are supporting us. They’re turning up; they’re helping, they’re shopping, they’re buying vouchers,” she said.

Like most businesses in the area, which were damaged by flooding in 2018, Poppyseed does not have flood insurance – and there has been no State support paid yet.

“We were told €10,000 would come quickly but we’ve been back and over with paperwork. We haven’t had assessments yet; everybody is hanging around for it. We are trading on the goodwill of people who helped us through extended credit and that,” said Ms Forde.

Caption: Back in business…Ann Forde at PoppySeed which was flooded in the Bridge Centre, Clarenbridge, during the storm. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

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