The flooding in parts of Northern Ireland this last week has left lots of businesses counting the cost as the flood water has ripped through their premises. Areas that have been particularly badly hit include Downpatrick, Newry, Kilkeel and Portadown.
Thankfully the water levels are slowly starting to recede so that the clean up operations can begin, but inevitably the flood water will have caused major damage to both businesses and households alike. This has led to calls for affected businesses to be given financial aid to ensure they stay solvent.
It Will Take Weeks To Get Some Business Units Dried Out
In a post on The Independent website, Sinn Fein MP for South Down Chris Hazzard is quoted as saying:
“You see the situation in the South, the Irish government have made 10,000, 20,000, right up to 100,000 euros available for those that has been affected by flooding in the South. It’s going to take something similar here,” he said.
“When you consider a local business here is maybe under four, five, six feet of water, even to get that unit dried out is going to take weeks,
He added: “2000 pounds or 5000 pounds, well that’s good to get some equipment to help the team up, that is not going to get a business back on it’s feet.
“Downpatrick town centre is a number of local independent retailers. They’re the heart of our community. They’ve been here for decades, sometimes generations.
“These shops will not reopen again unless we get a significant recovery package in place and that’s what we’re making the case for.”
The Support Schemes Currently Available Do Not Touch The Sides
Alliance MLA Eoin Tennyson also urged Mr Heaton-Harris to intervene.
“It is clear the support schemes currently available do not touch the sides of the scale of the challenge facing the areas affected,” he said.
“In the absence of ministers, the Secretary of State must now take steps to introduce business recovery and property flood resilience grants. Our high streets will also require clear recovery strategies to ensure local businesses can rebuild and repair from this devastation.”
The impact of climate change is making its presence felt right across the world and Northern Ireland is no exception. And when these issues arise, as they most assuredly will do on a more regular basis than in previous years, financial aid should be available as soon as possible in order to alleviate the financial suffering.