Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

22.02 20 Aug 2020


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The owners of a business in Clonmel in Co Tipperary say they're 'truly blessed and so relieved' that nobody was injured when part of the roof was torn off a building during Storm Ellen.

Strong winds overnight forced a significant part of the roof off the Regal Centre.

The owners of local store Larry O'Keeffe Furniture use the space to store furniture.

However, their shop's main building was untouched and remains open for business

'We're blessed that nobody was injured' - Storm Ellen tears roof off building in Clonmel

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Speaking to Moncrieff's Henry McKean, Mary O'Keeffe said the "phone started hopping" at around 11pm, saying the roof had come off the building.

Mary herself couldn't travel to the shop last night as it was unsafe to travel, but a number of her family members were able to start dealing with the situation overnight.

They had a full team working this morning to move the stock away from the impacted area and to start the clean-up.

She said: "We're truly blessed and so relieved that nobody was injured in the whole course of the last 12, 14, 16 hours.

"There's significant damage, but for us as a family and as a business that nobody was injured is first and foremost the most important thing."

She said the response of the emergency services, local authorities, contractors and engineers has meant so much to them today.

While the whether was severe overnight, the O'Keeffes say they were lucky that the rain held off enough overnight to allow them to clear the impacted space and move the stock.

Mary said: "It was all hands on deck this morning - with COVID and social distancing that was a bit of a challenge, but we are where we are: there's been no-one injured, and there's a good team around us."

Ailish O'Keeffe, meanwhile, was one of the family members who arrived at the building last night, saying it was "very frightening".

She explained: "It's a well-known building - it used to be the [Regal] theatre, and then it went to a cinema.

"It was very popular in Clonmel - a lot of people would have childhood memories from coming here.

"[We have] Larry O'Keeffe Furniture across the car park, which is our family business. That building remains untouched.

"In the grand scheme of things, it could have been so much worse."


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