Support extended to businesses flooded during Storm Ciaran

Schemes to support businesses that had been flooded in recent weeks has been extended to retailers and community groups affected by Storm Ciaran.

Two schemes have been approved for small businesses, sports clubs and community and voluntary organisations unable to secure flood insurance and affected by extreme weather events.

It came as Cork Airport recorded its highest rainfall for the month of October.

At a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, ministers made a decision to extend the two schemes to businesses in counties Louth and Wexford that had been hit by flooding between October 24 and November 5.

One scheme offers an initial 5,000-euro payment and total support of up to 20,000 euro based on the scale of the damage.

A second scheme, set up in response to unprecedented flooding in the Co Cork town of Midleton, offers an initial payment of 10,000 euro to businesses and up to 100,000 euro in total after auditing and assessment.

River Big Bridge  collapsed overnight in Carlingford
River Big Bridge collapsed overnight in Carlingford (Liam McBurney/PA)

In addition to the flooding schemes, low-cost loans up to 25,000 euro are available through Microfinance Ireland to small businesses that cannot get loans from other lenders.

The Department of Enterprise said this can be used for restocking and other business costs.

Enterprise Minister Simon Coveney said the schemes would provide “urgent assistance to businesses that were unable, through no fault of their own, to get insurance to help with the costs of repairing the damage caused by flooding”.

“As with similar weather events in the past, the Irish Red Cross will administer and make payments under the scheme on behalf of my department.”

Flooding hit Carlingford and other parts of north Louth on Tuesday, and parts of Co Wexford were also submerged after heavy rain brought by Storm Ciaran during the week.

In Northern Ireland, dramatic scenes were seen in Newry after the canal burst its banks, while council workers carried out an emergency response to flooding in Downpatrick on Thursday night.

Main street in Midleton after flooding
The centre of Midleton, Co Cork, suffered extensive damage caused by Storm Babet (Brian Lawless/PA)

In its monthly analysis, Met Eireann said the second half of October saw particularly wet weather in the midlands, south and east, with record rainfall in some cases.

As rainfall over the previous three months was well above average, grounds were already saturated in October. That and intense rainfall during October led to flooding in some areas, Met Eireann said.

Storm Babet moved up from the south and brought spells of intense rain over several days between October 17 and 20, with the heaviest rain in the south, resulting in unprecedented flooding in Midleton and elsewhere in Cork.

Last month saw Cork Airport record its highest rainfall in October on record, at 307.2mm.

The month’s wettest day was also recorded at Cork Airport, with 55.6mm falling on Wednesday 18 – its highest daily fall for October since 1995.

Speaking to RTE radio on Thursday, minister of state Dara Calleary said the first payments for areas of Midleton affected by Storm Babet were made this week.

Dara Calleary
Dara Calleary, minister of state at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Damien Storan/PA)

“We’re trying to get a system that gets money out quick,” he said.

“We’re very conscious that coming up to Christmas is a core time of year for businesses.

“We want to get them back up and running in as far as they can.

“It is an appalling situation in Carlingford and Wexford. Our thoughts are with those and we want to get supports to them as quick as possible.”