A woman has spoken of her devastation after a High Court ruled that she must close her family-run business by Friday.

Thomas and Mary O’Neill will close the doors of their shop and petrol station for the last time on Friday, after 54 years of business.

The couple have been running Foreglen Service Station, located on the Foreglen Road, Claudy, for all of their married lives.

Following a compulsory purchase order by Roads Service to develop the A6 into a dual carriageway, Mary and Thomas, have been directed to close their business by the end of the week.  

They will also have to vacate their home of 42 years by the end of next month.

A number of associated businesses including a hairdressers and a tyre garage have also been forced to close by Friday, resulting in the loss of 22 jobs.

Speaking last night Mary said that her whole life has been ‘turned upside down.’

She said: “We have to close the shop by Friday and then we have to be out of our family home by the end of next month. This has been our livelihood for the past 54 years. We are devastated. Our lives have been turned upside down.

“My husband and I worked hard to build the businesses and it is just so upsetting that we are being forced to close the doors on all our loyal customers.

“Our staff have become our extended family over the years. On their breaks we all ate together in my kitchen. It is so unfair that they will have all lost their jobs come Friday. 

“We have had so many happy years here. Working in the shop has been our way of socialising and we have had some great laughs.

“I just cannot understand why now? Why we have to close down our business and move out of our family home when no plans have been confirmed for the road development. It could take years and we are forced to close our business now.

“I would just like to thank all the local community for their loyal custom and support over the years. Sadly though this is the way it has to be,” added Mrs O’Neill. 

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