Crossmolina businesses count the cost, but are fighting back

Disaster support: Crossmolina business Phillip Munnelly man with a food bag from the Red Cross as he tried to keep the flood waters at bay from his shop.

Disaster support: Crossmolina business Phillip Munnelly man with a food bag from the Red Cross as he tried to keep the flood waters at bay from his shop.

On Monday afternoon the residents and business people of Crossmolina were still dealing with the after effects of the flooding that saw the town submerged on Saturday after Storm Desmond brought a torrent of rainfall that saw business people and residents in the town scrambling all day to save their properties. The streets of the town were littered with remnants of sandbags that had been bundled up in front of the doors of shops as owners tried to keep the waters, which reached over three feet, at bay.

Philip Munnelly, who runs a hardware shop in the heart of the town, was loading up a trailer with stock that was destroyed by the flooding, when he spoke to the Mayo Advertiser outside the door of his shop and described the battle he faced on Saturday to try to keep his business afloat. "The depth I had was three feet outside the building, and inside it came to about knee height, and then at the back of the building in the stock room I couldn't control it because I was pumping water out trying to bring it down, I eventually was able to bring it down to six inches inside the shop." While he was able to get the water under control in the front of his shop, in the store room it was a different story, he said. "Down the back is devastated because I had three feet of water down the back, I've lost thousands. It's crippling for a business, something needs to be done about this and get it sorted."

While he was battling to keep the water at bay on Saturday night, Mr Munnelly got a visit and a delivery from a source you normally only expect to see on the news in a Third World country, he explained. "I never left, I was here all day and night and at one stage the Red Cross, or Civil Defence it may have been, went by my door in a boat and handed me in a bag. The bag is supposed to be for distrbuting emergency food, it was a Red Cross bag. I thought they were only for Third World countries. It was great to get it, but when I saw a Red Cross bag I didn't know what to think. This is fairly big town and they had to hand out Red Cross humanitarian bags of food."

Crossmolina is no stranger to flooding, with a major flood in 1989 wreaking havoc and another seven years later also having a serious effect on the town, and Mr Munnelly asked who was more important, the people and the town or fish and oysters. "I remember the 1989 year flood well, it was supposed to be a one in 100 year incident, but it's been a lot less than 100 years. We had 1989, we had 1996, and even a few weeks ago. The one a few weeks ago, I managed then to keep it out by bagging, but it still came in maybe an inch or so. That was OK but it still came in, but we were able to deal with that and I managed to save the store that day, but this was unbelievable.

"They really need to look at it, there was talk of a wall or something to protect the town, but I don't know if that will work, they really need to look at it. I know they can't do certain things with the river because of oysters and crayfish, but who is more important. Am I and the people of Crossmolina less important than a crayfish or oyster? This is the thing. I know they are protected, but surely the fisheries could do something. This is crazy."

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