SDLP welcomes visit from the parliamentary Under Secretary to Downpatrick to see flood damage first hand
The SDLP’s Colin McGrath MLA and Councillors Gareth Sharvin and Conor Galbraith have welcomed a visit to Downpatrick from Parliamentary Under Secretary Lord Jonathan Caine saying that it has provided an important step for local businesses.
Mr McGrath said: “Businesses have been decimated as a result of the recent flooding. However, they were insulted following the fly-by-night visit by the Secretary of State Chris Heaton Harris MP on Wednesday past.
“The Secretary of State did not have the decency to talk to our traders and hear them out.
“Rather he made a swift exit through the back door.
“The message that was sent out was one of contempt for our traders, and could have caused irreparable damage.
“However, following an invitation from Margaret Ritchie, Lord Caine visited on Thursday and spent hours in our town walking, talking and listening to our local traders and all parties.
“This was an important step for our businesses and has gone some way to repairing the damage caused by the Secretary of State.”
Councillor Gareth Sharvin added: “It was a welcome step for the Under Secretary to hear from our local traders first hand and actually see the devastation that had been caused by the flood.
“After visiting almost a dozen businesses over the course of a few hours I think the message could not have been made any clearer, that while the £15m is welcome, it will not be nearly enough.
“It won’t provide the necessary funding package for our local businesses to return to pre-flood conditions and operating levels.”
Councillor Galbraith also present added: “The outpouring of support and help across our town following the flood of last week has been incredible.
“The community has come together to support each other, political parties have been working together, and now we need the funding package to get our businesses back on their feet.