Many businesses in Midleton are still waiting for insurance payouts more than a month after Storm Babet brought catastrophic flooding to the town. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

'Sad ending' for Midleton restaurant after floods

A popular East Cork restaurant has confirmed it will be unable to reopen at its current premises due to severe damage caused by Storm Babet.

The Farmgate restaurant on Midleton’s Main Street has been doing business in the town for over 40 years and owners say they must now start from scratch at a new location after flooding rendered the building unfit for trading in.

The restaurant was one of many businesses and homes to suffer major damage on 18 October when the Owenacurra River burst its banks during Storm Babet.

In a statement posted on the Farmgate’s Facebook page, owners said the costs to restore the building are “quite simply far beyond our means”.

“40 years of constant investment, so many wonderful memories created – it is such a sad ending to our decades here,” wrote the owners.

“In order to return to trading, we must relocate. This is a decision that will be based on what funding we will receive to help us restart,” they added.

The Farmgate’s announcement comes amidst reports that a number of affected businesses in Midleton are struggling to claim on their insurance policies over a month since the flooding happened.

Due to the town’s history with flooding, most businesses there have been unable to secure insurance, however many who have are now facing resistance from insurance companies, it has been reported.

It is understood that the businesses which managed to secure insurance were subsequently not entitled to the emergency fund set up by Government in response to the flooding crises.

A special meeting to brief East Cork councillors on possible interim flood measures is to take place this month following calls for “evidence of lessons learned” from the floods of 18 October.

At a Southern Committee meeting this week, Independent Cllr Liam Quaide, brought forward a motion asking that Cork County Council provide a report on interim flood measures that are being considered for Midleton.

The motion called for the report to be provided in advance of the long-awaited Midleton Flood Relief Scheme being being completed, which is expected to take several more years.

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Quaide said there is considerable ongoing fear in East Cork and particularly in Midleton among residents and business owners following the floods brought about by Storm Babet.

“I've spoken to business owners on the Main St in recent days who have stressed that they are not looking to blame anyone for the flood damage, but they do want evidence of lessons learned,” said Cllr Quaide.

He continued: “It’s very clear that we need interim flood protection measures for areas of high risk in East Cork over the coming years. These may not prevent all damage in the event of a catastrophic flood, but we may be better equipped to avert a worst-case scenario.”

Mr Quaide said a central part of his request was to establish a more specific flood warning system that could help at-risk residents and business owners to at least move stock and have makeshift barriers ready.

Responding to Cllr Quaide’s motion, Michael Lynch, Southern Divisional Manager, said a special meeting to brief the East Cork councillors on possible interim flood measures would be arranged.

The meeting is set to take place next Tuesday 28 November. Cork County Council also informed the Midleton Chamber of Commerce that council officials will have a public meeting with business owners on the same day at 6pm in Midleton Park Hotel.