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Cork Floods 'The Worst We Have Seen For Years'

Published on Feb 10 2014 4:37 PM in Retail

Cork Floods 'The Worst We Have Seen For Years'

Brian Herlihy, the owner of Herlihy's Centra outlets on Oliver Plunkett St and Grand Parade in Cork city centre, has told Retail Intelligence that last week's floods were "the worst we have seen for years," suggesting that even planned flood defences for the city wouldn't have been able to stop the flooding that occurred.

"The Oliver Plunkett Store is built on three stone steps, specifically to avoid flooding - on the worst night of it, it was about an inch from the top of the steps," he explained. "At Grand Parade, again the water didn't actully come into the shop, but it came right up to the door on the footpath. Even though, 50 metres down the road, people were kayaking along Grand Parade. It was surreal."

Herlihy admits that the flooding "killed trade" on affected nights, after the Cork City Manager urged residents not to go into the city centre. "Grand Parade is a 24 hour shop, so that's going to be impacted even more. There was no real business done - there were a few tourists around, and some of them came in for coffee. But they mostly just wanted to have a look at what was going on with the shop."

Caulfield's SuperValu, on Merchant's Quay, also managed to avoid the worst of the flooding, however, according to store manager Dwayne Hunt, "it obviously affected business, as customers weren’t coming in to the city because there was so much publicity about it." Nonetheless, he says that "everyone was prepared. Luckily, our store has never flooded in the past, and hopefully it won’t in the future as we are on slightly higher ground."

Cash & Carry business M&P O'Sullivan was one of the heroes of the flooding, following an appearance on RTE News distributing provisions to city centre residents free of charge.

"We knew we would have to do something when we heard about the floods, as a lot of our customers were affected, so we decided to put together a couple of pallets of stuff like loo roll and cleaning agents and things like that," says Eoin O'Sullivan. "It wasn’t just for our customers, it was for everyone, it was just a good gesture, giving anyone a handout that we could help."

O'Sullivan adds that the 'sense of community' in Cork really came to the fore during the floods, with everyone "getting stuck in" to help businesses get back on track. "A lot of people were up and trading the next day. They were in at night, keeping the water from the doors, blocking entrances, and I would say 90% of them were back trading the next day."

Retail Ireland has called on the Government to implement a long-term strategy to deal with flooding.

Retail Ireland Director, Stephen Lynam, said, "The scenes of flooding in Cork city and elsewhere are very serious. These retailers are already grappling with higher costs and lower sales due to the recession. Losing even one day's trading has an enormous impact on a retailer's ability to pay the bills and keep people in jobs.” He said that sadly, many shops cannot get flooding insurance because of previous experiences and will have to pay for repairs themselves.

Lynam added, "While we welcome the Government's announcement of funding to bolster flood defences, we would urge that they speak to all interested parties and develop a strategy that would address matters such as flood prevention, the impact of flooding on the local economy, how to tackle the absence of insurance and other issues highlighted by the recent weather."

© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Genna Patterson

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