Conor Swaine, who runs two businesses on the Enniscorthy Docks, managed to keep the waters at bay by activating his own homemade flood defenses on Christmas Day.
“We managed to make dinner, but we skipped dessert and got down here around 4pm and stayed until around 11pm. He now owns the neighboring B Twenty7 cafe which he opened in May 2020 and Fyre Pizzas, which just started operating this month.
“When you’re here on the docks, you’re affected so regularly that you live and learn. We have barriers on each of the gates, but you don’t want the water to rest against the gates, so we build a kind of sandbag moat around that, and then we keep pumping the water.
Neither he nor his parents can get flood insurance for their businesses, he said.
“I have lost count of the number of times my parents have been inundated. Every two years he walked through the door, but the most frustrating thing was the lack of confidence. We cannot get flood coverage.
A flood control program has long been promised for Enniscorthy, but Mr Swaine said experienced companies know they have to take action themselves.
“You’ll hear a lot of talk over the next week about flood barriers for Enniscorthy, but we basically need to put our own homemade flood defenses in place. “
Mr Swaine also has a branch of B Twenty7 in Bunclody, and although the floodwaters did not reach the gate, flooding from the surrounding roads prevented anyone from accessing the cafe.
“We were lucky, it only disrupted the family Christmas, then we lost a business day on Saint-Etienne’s Day. It’s the people whose homes are flooded that I pity the most and the pubs who really need the business.
Enniscorthy’s flood control program has been promised for nearly a decade and yet no progress has been made.
Wexford County Council chief executive Tom Enright recently released a report saying the project is still awaiting “statutory confirmation” from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
This has been a source of great frustration for residents and representatives of Enniscorthy who have been awaiting an update on the project this month.
Speaking to South East Radio, independent local councilor Jackser Owens called for action from Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath.
“We will have to call an emergency meeting and go see this minister to see what is the blockage that prevents him from signing in the program,” he said.
“It’s just ridiculous, here we are again businesses on the wharf damaged by this and it is a national disgrace.”