Businesses affected by Creeslough blast to receive grants to repair damage

Emergency funding is to be made available for firms and community groups affected by the explosion which claimed 10 lives.
Businesses affected by Creeslough blast to receive grants to repair damage

By Cate McCurry, PA

Businesses and community groups in Creeslough are in line to receive emergency funding of between €5,000 and €20,000 to repair damage caused by a service station blast that killed 10 people.

The Cabinet on Wednesday signed off on the Emergency Humanitarian Support Scheme for businesses affected by the explosion in Co Donegal last month.

The scheme will provide humanitarian support payments towards the costs incurred by small businesses, sporting, voluntary and community premises, to repair damage including the replacement of flooring, fixtures and fittings and damaged stock.

The scheme will not, however, provide a contribution to loss of earnings or loss of business goodwill.

This financial assistance is targeted at small businesses with up to 20 employees, sports clubs and community and voluntary organisations. It will be made in two stages.

The first stage will commence immediately and will provide a contribution of up to €5,000, depending on the scale of damage incurred.

Where businesses or premises have suffered significant damage costing more than €5,000, businesses can apply for additional financial assistance, following an assessment by the Irish Red Cross.

The total level of funding available for both stages combined is capped at €20,000.

Explosion at Donegal service station
The explosion at the Applegreen service station in Creeslough, Co Donegal, claimed 10 lives (Brian Lawless/PA)

Tánaiste, and minister for Enterprise, Leo Varadkar, said: “This scheme was originally established to help businesses with the costs of repairing damage from flooding and weather events, where they could not get insurance through no fault of their own.

“However, extending this scheme on an exceptional basis, will go some way to help businesses and community and voluntary organisations based in Creeslough to get back on their feet after the tragic event there last month.

“The Irish Red Cross Society will administer and make payments under the scheme on behalf of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment with the maximum flexibility.

“The local enterprise office in Donegal will also be working with Donegal County Council (and) other agencies on the ground in Creeslough to ensure that those whose properties have been affected are given every assistance possible.”

The scheme will run concurrently with, and be complementary to, the Creeslough Community Support Fund which is also being administered by the Red Cross in collaboration with An Post and Applegreen to provide rapid and long-term assistance to the Creeslough community.

Applications forms will be available on the Irish Red Cross Society website redcross.ie

The scene of the explosion remains sealed off while investigators continues to assess the building.

On Tuesday, parliamentarians paid tribute to the 10 people killed in the blast.

The names of the victims of the tragedy were read out in the Dáil as time was set aside to remember them.

The 10 people who died in the blast were: Robert Garwe and his five-year-old daughter Shauna Flanagan-Garwe; fashion student Jessica Gallagher; Celtic fan Martin McGill, Sydney native James O’Flaherty; Catherine O’Donnell and her 13-year-old son James Monaghan; shop worker Martina Martin; 14-year-old Leona Harper; and carpenter Hugh Kelly.

Their funerals were held in the days after the explosion.

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