AN Arklow café owner who has effectively been locked out of his business for nearly four weeks as a result of roadworks on the Main Street has stated that the disruption is likely to have cost him in excess of €20,000.
Peter Murphy of Unique Café and Patisserie has blasted the communication from Wicklow County Council around the works as “diabolical” and has criticised them for failing to grasp the impact the extended closure can have on business owners.
Speaking on Friday afternoon, Peter said: “Today was the first day in three and a half weeks that I’ve been able to get into my premises at all. I’ve basically been just taking hundreds of euro worth of stuff out of the fridge and dumping it because it’s no longer useable.
"The communication has been diabolical. The engineers and contractors involved must’ve known that the nature of the work meant that I wouldn’t be able to get into my business.”
So far, Peter says that Wicklow County Council has offered nothing in the way of compensation, not even when a reduction of rates was suggested.
"I’ve tried to have a conversation about compensation for this, but I’ve had zero. Nothing. They’ve never actually said that they understand the damage that this has done to us. I suppose, if they did they’d have a moral obligation to put it right.”
In the coming days, Peter is due to meet with Fine Gael Minister Simon Harris to discuss his situation further and he is hopeful that a satisfactory solution will be found. In the meantime, he is hopeful that he will be able to open his doors on Tuesday.
"I spoke to the workmen outside and when I asked if they’d be finished outside my place by Tuesday, they said they ‘should be’. I told them I can’t plan around ‘should be’. I need 48 hours to get ready to re-open for stock and everything else. So at the moment, I’m hoping that I’ll be opening again on Tuesday, but at this stage I’m finding it hard to be optimistic.
"It’s a pity because it (the work) looks fantastic. There’s no question, when it’s completed it will be lovely and it will be great for businesses, but the communication around it has been terrible.”