Home and business owners still counting cost of flooding

Serious flooding in the town centre caused problems for pedestrians and motorists.
Serious flooding in the town centre caused problems for pedestrians and motorists.

Home and business owners in Dromore are still cleaning up after heavy downpours caused serious flooding in and around the town centre on Saturday afternoon.

Many areas of Northern Ireland were impacted when more than a month’s rain fell in just a few hours, but Dromore in Co Down was one of the areas worst affected, with many business premises and private houses suffering flood damage when the streets turned into rivers.

Heavy rainfall flooded roads and footpaths in Dromore town centre on Saturday afternoon.

Heavy rainfall flooded roads and footpaths in Dromore town centre on Saturday afternoon.

Lynda Martin, who runs Martins Wallpaper & Paint Shop on Church Street, was back open for business yesterday, but was still cleaning up and waiting to find out how much it’s going to cost to repair the flood damage.

“The rain was so heavy, within about 10 minutes we were flooded front and back. When I came down you wouldn’t have seen a footpath in the town square and up Church Street and Bridge Street, it was just like a river,” she said.

“The front of my shop, the main bit of it, is all tiled so we’re getting back to normality there, but the bit that’s carpeted down to the back door is a disaster.

“Nearly everyone who was flooded is having to rip up carpets and floors because it’s not classed as flood water, it’s classed as contamination. We are all still counting the cost of what’s happened,” Lynda added.

The Via Wings charity’s Hope & Soul shop at Market Square was also flooded, meaning staff had to throw out some stock and bags of donated food.

“We had a few inches of water in the shop, but there were a lot of others who got it far worse than us,” said Via Wings assistant manager Donna Harrison.

“There has been really good community spirit shown and people have been supporting each other and helping each other out.”

Alderman Paul Rankin said many businesses and private homes in and around the town centre had sustained flood damage.

“The sheer volume of water meant the drains just couldn’t cope. The water came down Barban Hill and Rampart Street like a river,” he said.

Having contacted the Department for Infrastructure about possible flood alleviation measures, the DUP man added: “It has been heartbreaking to see local businesses and homes flooded, and whilst the weather cannot be controlled, government departments should be reviewing what they can do within their budgets to help limit the impact when we are hit with such extreme weather.”