Post Office services moved in wake of devastating blaze that gutted Bettystown store

Post Office services will be transferred to the Boshell run store in Laytown in the aftermath of the devastating fire that gutted the Pat's Centra and post office over the Bank Holiday weekend.

In a statement Pat's Supermarket Laytown said: "We are devastated for Patrick (Boshell) and all the staff in Pat's Bettystown, John (Flanagan) and staff in the Post Office and for the Macari family on the loss of their businesses because of the terrible fire last night.

"In the meantime the Bettystown Post office will move to our shop in Laytown and will be operational tomorrow afternoon for any payments due. Please can you let anyone who would normally collect in Bettystown know."

The statement added a request that people requiring post office services give the team until lunchtime to organise themselves.

Describing the blaze that broke out shortly after 10pm on Sunday night, Pat Boshell told the Meath Chronicle that his staff had just gotten home about 15 minutes after everybody had left the building.

"We became aware or made aware that something wasn't right, we got as report of smoke coming out the roof and it just went from there.

"I wasn't in the immediate area at the time. So I had to drive here. It took me 45 minutes or so to get here. So yeah, when I got here the place was well ablaze."

Pat said there no indication at this stage as to what might have caused the blaze which gutted the beachfront business and caused substantial damage to the neighbouring Macari's takeaway.

"There was a lot of water pumped into the fire area last night to try and put it out so the water damage is fairly substantial in the cafe in there. It's going to take time and effort but hopefully they'll get back up and running in the next couple of months."

He said the fire was a devastating blow for his store's 35 "wonderful staff" and "great team of people".

Pat said he was grateful for the outpouring of support for him and his staff and that they took great pride at being at the heartbeat of the local community.

"Well, that's what we've always strived for here and to get that feeling in the store, where we have a bit of time for everyone. that's what makes it.

"We want that friendly atmosphere, that everybody's enjoying their day at work and as I say to them, when they come to work for me, I like to enjoy my day and I want the same for you, that's just the way we work."

In a social media post this morning, local TD and EU Affairs Minister Thomas Byrne said: "Solidarity with the Boshell family and staff in Bettystown after the fire at Pat’s Centra and Post Office and thanks to all first responders. Solidarity also to the Macari family whose premises next door also appears damaged from photographs. This premises is such an institution in Bettystown."

Another local posted: "Devastating for Pat’s Centra Bettystown and all staff and Macari’s too. The heart of the community at the Square gone for now. Our thoughts are with everyone affected this morning."

Another said: "So upsetting to see this news this morning. Pat and his staff do so much for the community in Bettystown. A devastating blow for all of them."

Local councillor Sharon Tolan said: "Shocking scenes last night and this morning at Pat’s Centra in Bettystown.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the Boshells, John Flanagan our Postmaster, the Macari’s and everyone involved with these businesses.

"They and their staff are the very heart of our community, and we will do all we can to help and support them during this devastating time. Many thanks to all of the Emergency Services who fought long and hard to bring the fire under control."

Another poster to Facebook said: "It's not often that a shop can have such an impact on a community but in this case Pat's Centra really does. They give so much to locals and have done trojan work for the Ukraine effort. Pat, his team of staff, John and his team and also Macaris deserve all our support."

A GoFundMe page has been launched to support the popular local business.