A new online resource has been launched to help businesses in Midleton to get back on their feet after Storm Babet. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Bringing Midleton back online

Midleton’s community response to the recent devastating floods has been described as the “epitome of resilience” as a new online resource is launched to help businesses get back on their feet.

The resource, called BackToBusiness.ie, was created in direct response to the floods and is designed to help affected businesses in Cork and Waterford by sharing details of reopening dates, relocation, and fundraising information.

Local communities can use the resource to find out exactly when their favourite retailers and service providers in their area will reopen, and how they can help to support these local businesses as they work to recover from Storm Babet.

Affected businesses who want to keep the public updated with their recovery progress are invited to submit their details to be added to the community listing.

BackToBusiness.ie is already up and running with close to 40 Midleton businesses registered on the site. It also features a dedicated Offer of Help page where anyone can post an offer of assistance to affected businesses.

The resource was developed by East Cork native Darragh O’Brien who hopes it will help affected communities as they struggle to overcome the long-lasting effects of the flooding.

“BackToBusiness.ie is a social enterprise intended to complement the activities of public sector bodies that are working hard to support local businesses and communities,” said Mr O’Brien.

“It’s intended to act as an additional resource for affected business owners, and also as an information portal for the general public as they help to get our communities back to business,” he added.

Community resilience

Hundreds descended upon Midleton in the days following last month’s floods which tore through homes and businesses reaching depths of five feet in places.

Local Fine Gael Cllr Susan McCarthy, whose shop was one of many to take in water after the nearby Owenacurra River bust its banks on 18 October, said ex-employees, old friends, and even her daughter’s ex-boyfriend showed up to help in any way they could.

“People came from everywhere, young and old. It was so heartwarming, it just bowled me over,” said Cllr McCarthy.

‘I had a woman in her 70s saying, 'Susan, I have my wellies on, I'm coming down to help'.”

After spending the night of the flooding at her sister’s house, Cllr McCarthy arrived back in Midleton the following morning and describes a scene of “eerie quiet” desolation.

“It just looked so desolate and destroyed and mud everywhere,” she told the Cork Independent. “I was standing outside the shop and all these people just started turning up.”

Cllr McCarthy said the town’s incredible community strength has been key to its continuing recovery, but that the trauma of what happened last month will live on for years, as will the fear of it all happening again.

She said: “We've talked about resilience, but we should also mention that some people are very, very traumatised after this. I had one woman telling me that when she hears heavy rain outside now, she cannot sleep.

“I don't think people get that, that long-term effect of it, and the fear of; 'Am I going to be able to make it again? Am I going to be able to come back again the next time? Am I going to have the resilience to do this all again?',” added the councillor.

Ms McCarthy also highlighted the “fantastic” work of the Department of Social Protection in helping private homeowners with damage costs, and heaped praise on the East Cork local community welfare officer who she said has been “amazing” in the wake of the flooding.