Cork floods: 'It has closed us down for the last two days of trading'

Devastated businesses are counting the cost of flood damage this morning. 
Cork floods: 'It has closed us down for the last two days of trading'

Flood on Cork's Princes Street today. Picture: Stephen Rogers

Devastated businesses in Cork city centre are in clean up mode following the worst flooding event to hit the city in years.

In some areas, a metre of water hit beleaguered businesses, many of whom had been making last-minute preparations to try and maximise the last two days of trade before the new Covid-19 restrictions come into effect tomorrow evening.

Oliver Plunkett Street, Pembroke Street, Prince's Street, the South Mall and many of the other streets in the area were badly hit by floodwaters shortly after high tide around 8.30am today.

Floodwaters poured onto the low-lying quays and spread from there.

Cork City Council has confirmed further flooding is unlikely based on the current forecast, which will be welcome news for some, but for others, the damage has already been done.

It was an all too familiar site for Brendan Walsh of Platinum Works Jewellers, who said he spent over €10,000 last time his business was flooded and was likely facing similar costs this time.

But, he added in a deflated tone, there is no rush now as the business simply has no chance of reopening before the Covid restrictions closes it again tomorrow.

It's closed us down for our last two days of trading.

"The two days would have been busy with last-minute collections and people picking up a few bits before being shuttered," he said.

"We're going to get on with it - and get back up and running as soon as we can.

"We don't have to rush now because we're not going to make it for the last day of trading tomorrow."

Key among the last-minute shoppers for Mr Walsh are engaged couples, who were hoping to pick up wedding bands.

"I'm going to have to try to get bands to them by hook or by crook," he added.

 A flooded coffee shop on the South Mall, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan
A flooded coffee shop on the South Mall, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

On nearby streets, the sadly familiar site of business-owners sweeping swathes of water onto the street was evident, while the Civil Defence made a return to the street to help pump away the water.

But, the initial flood is just one part of the problem for these businesses, said Sean Houston of Houston Office Supplies and Office Furniture on Marlboro Street.

The damaged stock, the dirt and, indeed, the smell caused by floodwaters can be an even bigger issue.

He implored vehicles to avoid the area for the time being, too, as the wash caused by cars driving through floodwaters can be as damaging as the initial flood, and is entirely avoidable, Mr Houston said.

Owner of the Castle Inn, Michael O'Donovan, described the floods as "such a disaster" for businesses already facing into closures, while fishmonger Pat O'Connell bemoaned the lack of flood defences in the city, asking 'how long more will the residents and businesses of Cork city' have to wait.

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