Minister hails traders’ resilience as Linen Green bounces back

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Rivers Minister Michelle O’Neill has praised the resilience and spirit of Dungannon business owners as she inspected the repair work carried out following Storm Desmond flood damage.

Visiting the Linen Green shopping complex last Wednesday, the Minister said it was great to see the centre opened for business. She heard how the high winds and intensive rainfall resulted in severe flooding and seen first-hand how hard businesses have worked to refurbish their stores.

“I am very sympathetic to the difficulties faced by businesses that have been flooded and understand the distress and inconvenience it causes.

“I visited many homes and businesses affected during the winter flooding and it was heartbreaking to see the damage flooding can cause. Today my spirits have been lifted as I see how many of the businesses have bounced back. I was particularly impressed by their resilience especially as many were operational a matter of days after the flooding. Linen Green is very much back on its feet.”

The Minister was given a tour of the centre by Fionnula McEldowney, Linen Green Centre Manager and met with various business owners. She explained how a nearby grille had caused the flooding after it had become blocked by debris during the storm.

“It is little comfort to the 31 businesses here to know that Linen Green did not flood because of any lack of maintenance to the river, but it is important for us to learn any lessons from this event to better prepare us for future storms.

“The grille which blocked during Storm Desmond is inspected and cleared on a routine basis and to provide additional comfort to those who flooded we carry out additional checks in response to weather warnings to ensure the grille is free from blockage before high water levels are experienced,” the Minister added.

Linen Green Centre Manager, Fionnula McEldowney, said she welcomed the opportunity to show the Minister the impact the flooding had on the various high-end shops and restaurants at the designer shopping village.

“It’s important for people to have the opportunity to share their experience of the flooding and the impact on their lives and businesses with the Minister and to seek assurances that the Executive is doing all that it can to prevent a repeat. I have so much admiration for the way people responded to the crisis and the way they tackled the huge clean-up.”