May 24, 2024
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By Eimear Flanagan

Businesses in Newry have expressed their grief after floods damaged buildings, destroyed stock and equipment.

Newry Canal overflowed its banks in the early hours of Sunday morning. The area around Newry City Hall was amongst those most affected.

McCartan Bros is a family owned clothing shop located on Sugar Island. According to owner Paul McCartan, the store sustained damage worth thousands of pounds.

Other parts of County Down, and County Armagh were affected by flooding.

Since midnight, the Department for Infrastructure has received 600 flood-related calls.

Some people in Newry paddled along the road near Paul McCartan’s menswear shop, while he was trying to salvage his remaining stock.

BBC News NI reported that Mr McCartan’s shop, which was stocked with new Christmas items and other merchandise, will suffer damages of thousands of pounds.

His father and his uncle founded the store in Newry in 1959.

It currently does not have flood insurance because many of the businesses within its area are not covered for damage caused by floods.

This month the store also underwent a refurbishment, including new toilets and flooring.

McCartan claimed that part of the new floor floated past him when he forced himself into the building in order to save any stock.

The damage could be repaired in four to six month, according to the estimate.

Finite Resource

Paddy Lavery, Department for Infrastructure stated that a large team is working to combat flooding. Another weather warning was about to hit “very saturated soil” and he said a massive effort would be made to address the problem.

He said that it would be a difficult task.

He told BBC Evening Extra that he had taken measurements of the tides, rivers and loughs.

This is an area that we haven’t addressed. The water is a limited resource. Where can the water be escaped to?

He said, “We resort to providing sandbags for properties to be protected.”

According to Mr Lavery, the water levels in four areas were unprecedented.

The police warned the public on Tuesday night to stay away from the canal and river due to “the hazardous conditions created by the high water level and fast-moving current”.

Water seeped through a part of Merchant’s Quay’s wall after it collapsed.

Some patients had to move from the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald after an obstruction of a pipe caused water damage to some rooms.

In addition, some roads in Killowen and Camlough as well as Ballynahinch, Moira, Ballynahinch, and Bangor were also impassable.

The motorway connecting Newry to Dublin in the Republic of Ireland has been closed from Junction 20, near Carrickdale Hotel, northbound.

The southbound lane was previously closed in both directions, but it has now been reopened.

“Flooded up to the waist”

Brendan Downey of Friar Tucks, the fast-food firm’s director, described the damages to Sugar Island Restaurant in Newry as catastrophic.

Everything is destroyed. “We tried to save as much machinery and other stuff, but it was hopeless,” he said on BBC News NI.

We had truckloads of sandbags. “An army would not have been able to solve the problem last night.

On the steps of Newry Town Hall, it feels like you are in two different cities. To my left, traffic flows and shops are open.

On my left, there’s a torrential flow of water.

People in boats on the main street, struggling against the current, are surreal. Sandbags are holding the water back.

People often use the word “frightening”, as they’ve never seen anything quite like it.

Now, the canal that runs through this town is a river.

What was supposed to be a parking lot now looks like a lake.

People were trying to shut the shutters in a snooker room, but they were under water up to their shoulder.

Businesses along canal banks are in danger of ruin, as they are completely submerged under water.

BMC Accountants’ office, located at Merchants Quay, Newry is one of the many buildings that have filled with water. It was “very devastating” for him.

He told BBC News NI that the basement was flooded up to his waist.

The old documents are still there, even though we’ve gone paperless for a couple of years. There has been much damage.

I spent a great deal of money renovating a building that dates back to 1820. This morning, we found it completely flooded in the basement.

Commercial House is located just a few feet from Newry Canal, and McCullagh stated that businesses in this area were not eligible for flood insurance.

Killowen, County Down, recorded 75.4mm between 9:00 GMT Monday and 10:00 GMT Tuesday. This is the wettest day ever for this station.

Tollymore forest, County Down was the site of the wettest recorded day in Northern Ireland on 31 October 1968.

Two weather warnings are in effect for the next few days.

Met Office expects 15-20 mm of rainfall in some areas between 21:00 and 09:00 Tuesday.

There are yellow rain warnings from 06:00 Thursday morning until Midnight Thursday for County Down and southern County Antrim, as well as parts of County Armagh. Storm Ciaran will bring heavy rainfall to the eastern area.

Eamonn Connolly of Newry’s Business Improvement District said that the flood was “incomprehensible” and had never seen water levels this high.

He said that some areas were experiencing a flood of biblical proportions. He added that many businesses are looking at opening elsewhere.

He said, “It is very dark and unimaginable.”

Oonagh Magennis, Newry and Armagh Councillor said that severe flooding is “causing havoc in the entire area”, which includes Camlough Village in South Armagh.

Social media footage showed the flooding of Camlough’s largest shop and petrol pump.

Firefighters in the village rescued three horses that were trapped by floodwater.

Gary Murphy, their owner, stated that they were left shaken.

He said, “I was here for food yesterday and it was all flooded. I could not get to them.”

They were exhausted, they were stuck. They had a tiny island. “And the water just kept rising.

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