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Saturday, June 30, 2012
A massive community effort to tackle the aftermath of the flood helped restore relative order to Clonakilty within hours.
Behind closed doors, homes and businesses were devastated, but for many visitors unaware of the chaos it was business as usual yesterday in the West Cork town.
Dignitaries gathered at Spiller’s Lane — a torrent of flowing water 18 hours before — for the launch of the town as an official Jungle City destination.
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said emergency funding should be made "as soon as possible" before embarking on a tour of some of the worst-affected areas.
Mayor Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin called for an immediate release of funds to aid beleaguered homeowners and businesses but Mr Varadkar stopped short of making promises.
"I’ve heard the request for funding and it’s not something that I can promise on my own part but definitely it’s something I will discuss with cabinet colleagues tomorrow," he said.
Saying that he sympathised 100% with people affected, Mr Varadkar said funding was available through community welfare officers via the exceptional needs payment.
"I think funding needs to be made available as soon as possible but we need to know what the cost will be. When it comes to roads, my department will take very seriously any requests for funding for roads that were damaged," he said.
He posed for photos amid 24 life-sized sculptures of endangered wild animals, painted by pupils of Scoil na mBuachaillí under the watchful eye of artist Deirdre Crowley, who opened a gallery on Spiller’s Lane three weeks ago. The premises flooded but her most valuable works were saved thanks to the actions of a quick-thinking hero.
Colette Twomey, owner of Clonakilty Black Pudding, told how a young friend, James Clancy, was helping them escape the flood when they saw the water rising in the gallery.
"I could see in the window; the paintings were on the ground and the water was coming in," said Ms Twomey. James entered the gallery and saved six of the paintings, which sold for up to €10,000 during the boom. "He saved my most valuable works. It’s heartwarming to see such great decency in people," said Ms Crowley.
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