The town of Bandon in Co. Cork has been decimated by flood waters stirred up by Storm Frank’s furious might.
Six years ago, on the wake of a similar disaster, they were promised flood defences. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Government of the time did not act on its promises.
The current flooding event has once again destroyed premises and ruined thousands of euro worth of stock. A €10m Flood Relief Scheme has been “promised” but failed to materialize thus far.
Angered and frustrated by the apparent lack of progress, traders in the town are now planning a march in Dublin to exert pressure on Government representatives.
Mary McSweeney of Bandon Business Supplies, who is greatly contributing in the collaborative clean up effort for the town, said: “There are lorries and tractors and skips lining the streets. People are in tears everywhere, and some business owners now say that they’ll have to close. New Year’s Eve is supposed to be the happiest day of the year, and it’s a busy time for businesses, so missing this trading period will really affect them badly.”
“We don’t want politicians to come down here shaking their heads but not doing anything – they should come down today with cheques for the businesses that have been damaged by this flood, and send in teams of cleaners. They’re all promises but it’s the owners that are stuck paying for the damage and scrubbing the dirt from the walls and the floors.”
And Kevin Bowen Jnr of Kevin Bowens clothing shop added: “What angers me most is that after the flooding in 2009, politicians said ‘Bandon is being given flood relief,’ but nothing has happened. It’s a disgrace.”
With Storm Gertrude now set to hit Ireland in less than 24 hours, the outlook is indeed bleak.