Businesses count the cost of flood damage

Businesses in Thomastown are counting the cost of recent flooding which damaged premises and destroyed stock.

Local traders remained upbeat as they battled to save what they could during the aftermath of Storm Frank.

One of the town's oldest traders Joe Murray who has Murray Fashions on Market Street said the flood was the worst he had even seen.

Paudie O'Neill said that despite a number of meetings with politicans and council executives in recent years there was still no flood relief scheme.

“In 2013 traders met with the then minister Brian Hayes and executives from Kilkenny County Council. The situation is unsustainable in the long term and people cannot get insurance.

“There are 88 businesses in the old part of the town who employ 188 people as well as part timers but the town is not deemed to be economically viable when it comes to funding a proper flood relief scheme,” he added.

Ben Hennessy, who lives on Low Street for over 30 years said that there was flooding in some areas for the first time.

“I have not seen the water come in like this before - it is very worrying for people,” he said.

Meanwhile Deputy John McGuinness has called for Government funding to construct flood relief schemes for Thomastown, Graiguenamanagh and Inistioge.

“We have seen how successful the flood relief scheme is in Kilkenny. The affected county towns and villages deserve the same response.

“In the meantime the Government must cut the red tape and make the funding for property damaged by the storms and flooding more easily accessible. People have suffered enough,” he added.

However spirits in the town remained hope as people tried to help each other out. Last Wednesday evening at the height of the flooding people gathered in O'Haras bar to assess the damage caused.

With their wellies on and standing in inches of water they were resolute that they would do what they could to get the community back on its feet.

“It is very much business as usual. People are doing what they can to help each other. That is all we can do,” said Breda Duffin.