'If river bursts its banks, the loss will be astronomical'
An Athlone businessman who operates a small coffee shop just yards away from the swollen River Shannon has said the €5,000 offer by the Government would not save him from "going under."
Séamus Meade, who, along with his partner Regina Schaub, owns Shannon Crafts and Coffee Dock on the strand in the Westmeath town, said his business would be finished if the river were to burst its banks, as is feared.
The Westmeath man has been trading since 2010 and claims that he has never been able to insure the property against flood damage.
"As you can see, we are sat right here on the front of the Shannon. It is just outside our door. On any other day, it is a beautiful setting," he said.
"Today (Thursday), we have the biggest river in the country threatening to burst her banks and we have a stream of raw sewage running outside on the street.
"If the river does burst, it will surely mean the end of us. We are a small business, almost everything we sell is handcrafted and handmade. The loss would be astronomical.
"On my insurance documents in big bold writing, it says flood damage not covered - so what can we do?
"Obviously, €5,000 from the Government would be very welcome, but it wouldn't put a dent in what we would need to get the place in order again.
"I don't think many businesses would be able to get up and running again with that money.
"We have invested a lot of money in our business in the last six years, getting it up and running.
"If water does come in, it's just the end of the business and that's it - no questions asked.
"Insurance is also obviously a massive worry, in that we couldn't get them to cover us for this type of situation.
"I am very worried for my partner Regina as well. She puts her soul into this place. She bakes all our cakes and biscuits and works here tirelessly.
"To lose it all now after so much hard work would be devastating."