Community comes to the rescue of chipper after car smashes through shutters
Owners of a Loughlinstown chipper that was seriously damaged when a car drove through its front window said they couldn't have gone on without their community's support.
The shutters of the Roma takeaway and parts of its ceiling fell through when the vehicle drove through the window early on Tuesday morning.
But the proprietor, Antoinette D'Ettorre, said the kindness of local customers has left her "shocked" as neighbours volunteer to repair the shop.
She said she heard a massive crash in the shop at 4.30am on Tuesday, and rang gardai immediately. It was only when she went downstairs afterwards that she realised the true extent of the damage.
"At the moment, my focus is on trying to get this opened," she told the Herald.
"I didn't realise how much it meant to the locals. I feel we'll let them down if we don't hurry up to open now, because they are missing us."
The shop has been boarded up since the crash, but Antoinette (47) and her son Luca (24) said that numerous people have volunteered their time to help with repairs.
"I want to take the opportunity to thank my customers," Antoinette said. "From the PVC to the doors, to the electricity and the plumbing, I couldn't have done it if I didn't have the community.
"And if I didn't have my son, and I had a bad illness and was going to die, I would sign all the property for sale and give it to them. Because they did it."
Luca also told the Herald that the shop had not been targeted by vandals in the meantime.
"If you had a bit of marker or a bit of paint, the wood [boarding up the shopfront] would be covered," he said. "Seven days this has been left here. We don't wash this and nobody writes on it."
Antoinette has run the takeaway for the past 22 years, and lives in the apartment just above the premises.
She said she normally worked "seven days a week" and is struggling to adjust after the chipper was forced to close.
She expects she will be able to reopen in six weeks, but hopes to start work again sooner.
"I'm a little bit worried if it doesn't open soon," she said. "Because then I think I'll lose myself. If I lose it, everything is a mess."
Gardai are investigating if the car had been stolen.