At least one person is making hay while it pours: One of the country’s main retailers of flood barriers.
Noel Phelan, the owner and operator of Floodgate Ireland, said he is running out of stock, having been “inundated” with calls in the past month.
“I have an earache from the phone calls,” he said from his firm’s office in Limerick. “I am virtually out of flood barriers.” However, he still has flood bags.
The typical flood barrier, now commonplace in many towns, retails at €470, plus VAT. Noel said that, over the last month, he has sold between 20 and 30 of the barriers a week and he is now “begging” the manufacturing firm in Wales to send more.
His company has also undertaken some larger flood defence work, for example at the courthouse in Cork City and the gates to Douglas shopping centre.
However, while the succession of storms might make the flood barrier business seem particularly lucrative, Noel said, in reality, it was “seasonal”.
“It is not a big business,” he said, explaining that he carries out regular engineering work as his main trade.
He said that up until recently he was looking at 6,000 sandbags that he had in storage, wondering if they would ever sell. Then a local authority came and bought the lot.
“You would have a lot of sympathy for people,” he said of the recent storm damage that has visited many households and businesses.
Elsewhere, a man whose plan for flood barriers was turned down on TV’s Dragons’ Den in April 2011 has said he might resurrect the proposal.
Retired US policeman Mike Kelleher, who lives in Tramore, Co Waterford, said his PVC system is the “Rolls-Royce” of flood barriers.
“There is definitely a market for it,” he said yesterday, adding that he had received a call recently from a businessman asking that he relaunch the product.
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