Sunday 4 December 2016

'I relied on my family and friends to help me clean up my business'

Published 17/12/2015 | 02:30

Hughes Bar at Ballinamore Bridge, Ballinasloe, Co Galway, during the floods. Photo: Hany Marzouk
Hughes Bar at Ballinamore Bridge, Ballinasloe, Co Galway, during the floods. Photo: Hany Marzouk
Mathew Hughes in the bar after a massive clean-up operation. Photo: Hany Marzouk

Matthew Hughes was left devastated when flood waters came into his home and his pub.

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The third generation publican's Co Galway premises was invaded by two feet of water from the nearby River Shiven two weeks ago in the wake of Storm Desmond.

Water cascaded through the back door of his family pub in Ballinamore Bridge, which he took over the running of in 2012. The same thing happened in 2009, but this time he had no insurance.

However, through the generosity of the local community as well as Mr Hughes's family, he was serving pints again just five days later after a massive clean-up.

"I opened in 2012, I fully committed to running the place. It's a family business," the father of one explained.

"I did it up to a standard that I was quite happy and proud of. And then on Sunday morning, I was thinking: 'What have I just wasted three or four years doing?' because I have no insurance.

"The whole family sat me down and said, 'Look, we'll get this back and we will do it quick'. It's phenomenal who came through the door to help. It spurred me on."

Mr Hughes also welcomed the committee recommendation that the Central Bank needs to carry out an investigation into how insurance companies decide homes that are at risk of flooding.

He is also a member of the Vintners' Federation of Ireland (VFI), who praised the Government's "swift action" to support businesses affected by the recent flooding.

But the VFI is now calling on Environment Minister Alan Kelly to instruct local authorities to give businesses hit by floods a 12-month exemption from rates.

Irish Independent

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