The Beast from the East and Storm Emma are now behind us and thanks to contingency plans and better preparation we did not experience the same level of accidents and injuries as with other bad weather events in the past. The financial damage to the economy and small business could, however, be in the hundreds of millions with commercial activities either disrupted or businesses closed entirely for at least two and a half days. It will be difficult, to say the least, to recuperate these losses.
Once again, an extreme weather phenomenon has highlighted the challenges that small businesses in Ireland have to face. A poor road and public transport infrastructure that is very vulnerable to bad weather is only one of the broader issues. The insufficient broadband coverage in Ireland outside of the bigger urban areas means that working from home in situations like that isn’t really an option. And whilst Project Ireland 2040 reads really well, government needs to act now and proceed with the procurement process for the National Broadband Plan. In relation to the ongoing issues around rising insurance costs, we will keep a close eye on how insurance companies will deal with the snow and flood related claims. Please contact us should you experience any difficulties, so we can raise the issues on your behalf at government level.
Climate change means that unfortunately we will experience more ‘Ophelias’ and ‘Beasts’ in the future. If you have not already done so, know is a good time to put in place an employer policy on absence due to bad/inclement weather or business crisis planning. The SFA has a sample inclement weather policy which businesses can avail of here.
As always, we’d love to hear from you about any queries you may have, issues you wish to have raised with Government or other stakeholders and your ideas on how we can improve the business environment for us all. Please contact me on tel: 01 605 1602 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet: @SFA_Irl or visit: www.sfa.ie.