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Shopworker trapped in floods as south Galway businesses devastated

A shopworker had to be rescued by the emergency services as flooding devastated a row of businesses in south Galway,

Storm Debi caused chaos in the county early on Monday, particularly in Oranmore, where boats were washed off their moorings and shops flooded by sea water.

Ronan Hennigan, who owns the Londis supermarket in nearby Clarinbridge, said one of his workers called him at 4.35am to tell him water was getting into the shop.

In the ten minutes it took him to drive there, he said the water had risen to between 10 and 12 feet and the worker was trapped in the shop.

Autumn weather Nov 13th 2023
A telegraph pole down on the Maree Rd, Oranmore, Co Galway after Storm Debi swept across the area (Ed Carty/PA)

“We rang the emergency service, eventually the tide subsided about half an hour later and they were able to get in, get him out, get him into hospital and get him checked out. Fortunately he’s fine, he’s OK.

“He was trapped in the shop. He spoke to me about 4.35am, by 4.45am the water had risen 10 to 12 feet.”

Mr Hennigan said it was caused by a storm surge and described “hurricane level” winds at the time.

While the water has since receded, he described the damage left as “unthinkable”, estimating it will cost between 500,000 and 700,000 euro to fix.

“Unfortunately this is not the first time it has happened, it happened in 2018, but not to the same level of damage as caused this time,” he said.

“We had got insurance at that time in 2018 but we have no insurance this time. We need the Government help on this because otherwise my 20 staff are going to be out of a job and we’ll not be able to open again.

“It’s devastation, it just cleaned everything out, moved coolers around the shop, contaminated the food, so that all has to be dumped. It’s horrendous.

“The premises is destroyed, refrigeration contaminated, all has to be replaced.

“An absolute nightmare, the worst way you could be woken up. It was too late, but the way that water came in, nothing would have stopped it, it came in with such devastation, I witnessed it with my own eyes, the height that the water came in and the rate it came in.”

He said there are seven businesses in the same complex, and all were devastated.

“The people are devastated. There is no flood defence, this could happen in two weeks time if we get another bad storm, until something is done about it,” he said.

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