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Dismay as town gets swamped in flash flood

Deluge causes more hardship for business owners preparing to reopen after pandemic lockdown

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Dianne Rigley (manager), Biju (owner) and staff from Whelan Cleaning cleaning up The Holy Grail following the flash flood on Tuesday evening

Dianne Rigley (manager), Biju (owner) and staff from Whelan Cleaning cleaning up The Holy Grail following the flash flood on Tuesday evening

Dianne Rigley (manager), Biju (owner) and staff from Whelan Cleaning cleaning up The Holy Grail following the flash flood on Tuesday evening

On Tuesday night (16th) Enniscorthy town was hit by a flash flood and heavy rainfall the likes of which many people in the town said they never saw before.

Unfortunately, a number of businesses were badly affected as a result of excess water damage and the flooding caused one business owner to make up her mind to close her business for good.

The Holy Grail restaurant had flood water cause damage to its interior - to the extent that repair work on the floor had to be carried out.

'We have to redo the floor after the water washed in,' said owner, Biju.

'We will also have to re-sanitise the whole place and there will be two days work involved in cleaning alone,' he added, when speaking to this newspaper following Tuesday nights event.

'It will have to be a deep clean.'

Biju hopes the restaurant will be back up-and-running again next week.

The Yellow Rose boutique was another premises that was badly hit with water flooding the premises from the rear.

Proprietor, Trish Rackard, said the water came in the back door and presented a terrible sight when she arrived in the shop.

'It just came in the back door and I've never seen that happen before,' she said.

She said that she was contemplating the future of the shop for 'a while' but the flooding, on the back of the Covid-19 lockdown, led to her making the difficult decision to close for good.

'It was a difficult decision but I just think it's for the best,' she said.

The flooding meant she had to close anyway but she plans to open up again to hold what will be a clearance and closing down sale.

Ms Rackard praised and thanked all of the loyal customers who she described as being 'friends as well as customers'.

She also thanked her work colleagues, Gabrielle and Carmen, for the support and help they gave her.

Ms Rackard also thanked her family and friends and praised her suppliers who she said she always enjoyed dealing with.

While she herself has decided to close she said the spirit in Enniscorthy is such that the town will come back stronger than ever.

Pettitt's SuperValu, at the Duffry, also suffered damage during the storm.

Operations Manager, Rosaleen Casey, said water came in through the roof and resulted in tiles falling away.

However, she praised the staff who were on site at the time for their quick reactions in dealing with the situation.

'We had around 15 customers in the shop at the time and because of Covid-19 regulations we had security at the door,' she said.

'In some ways we were lucky because we have a crew on site and they were quickly able to deal with the situation,' she added.

'We lost some ceiling tiles and we were open for business as normal the next morning.'

Ms Casey said she damaged occurred at around 8.15 p.m. and the store was closed by 8.30 p.m.

'It meant we lost half-an-hour because we would have been closed at 9 p.m. anyway so for us it wasn't too bad compared to what some of the other businesses in the town went through,' she said.

The damage to the ceiling occurred to the rear of the checkout area and Ms Casey said most of the work for the staff involved securing stock on the floor once the water hit.

'I never saw anything like that happen in the shop before,' she said.

However, she emphasised that the important thing was nobody was hurt.

'In the large scheme of things we were very lucky,' she said.

The damage occurred a week after the store handed out free scones to mark the fact that businesses were beginning to reopen in Enniscorthy as a result of the roll-out of Phase 2 of the Government's roadmap for the country.

She said the store fared better during lockdown than a lot of businesses - including opening a new in-store bakery and Ms Casey said the decision to hand out free scones was to acknowledge the difficult situation for business owners in the town and to mark the town slowly reopening.

'This was the last thing the town needed on the back of the Covid-19 issues,' said Ms Casey.

She thanked the staff for the way they reacted and paid tribute to the Duty Manager, Mark O'Brien, who was in the store at the time and had everything 'well under control' by the time she arrived after receiving he call.

Wickham Butchers and Deli is another business that was affected by Tuesday's flash flood.

Mark Wickham said it was hard to blame anyone for what happened and described it as a 'freak event'.

'I don't really know who is to blame to be honest,' he told this newspaper.

'You can't really blame anyone it was a freak thing that happened,' he added.

The case of his business he said the water was 'like a stream coming in'.

Damage occurred to the cellar area of the premises and Mr Wickham said: 'I am down some freezers and the odd fridge.'

However, he praised the people of the town - many of whom gave him help to get back up-and-running.

'There is such a community spirit in the town and that is what has helped me stay open,' he said.

The Covid-19 restrictions placed their own pressure on his business and when Murphy Floods Hotel burned down that blaze also caused damage to Mr Wickham's business so he has experienced his fair share of difficulties.

However, showcasing the fighting spirit that, literally, earned him numerous titles in the ring he is determined to keep going and come back stronger than ever.

The business will also celebrate a milestone event next Easter when it will mark 60 years in business.

'The business was started by my father and his brothers in 1961 and it's the oldest traditional butcher shop in Enniscorthy,' said Mr Wickham.

The Orchard Peace Park didn't escape the deluge either with excess water causing some of the surface material on the footpaths to wash down the park and out through the lower entrance at Irish Street.

At times Main Street down into Market Square was like a river and District Manager, Ger Mackey, said the situation was a flash flood that overpowered the system.

With regard to the fact the flooding was caused by rainfall rather than from the river Mr Mackey said: 'Thankfully, what happened is not a regular occurrence and it just overpowered the system.

'It was a meteorological event that event that happened in a very quick period of time,' he added.

'We are putting place sandbags which will be available in the event that something like this happens again.'

Mr Mackey went on to comment: 'What we can do to help people we are doing.'

Enniscorthy Guardian