Calls for flood defences to proceed
Cork city this week suffered the worst flooding it had experienced in years with the city centre island especially badly hit on Tuesday morning. Around 100 businesses are thought to have been hit.
In response, the Minister for the OPW Patrick O’Donovan, who visited the city on Tuesday morning, called on those who are objecting to the city’s proposed flood defence scheme to re-consider and withdraw the judicial review on the Morrison’s Island scheme.
Save Cork City (SCC), who have advocated against the greater €150m Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme (LLFRS) and launched legal challenges against the Morrison’s Island scheme, revealed it plans to “reconsider all of our actions in the next few days including any court action”.
Save Cork City is potentially challenging An Bord Pleanála’s decision to approve the Morrison’s Island project. SCC has also taken the lead in objecting to the OPW’s LLFRS advocating for a tidal barrier to protect the city.
“Cork needs more than flood defence to help the city centre but it would be a very good start and is long overdue for people,” a spokesperson for SCC said.
Minister for the OPW Patrick O’Donovan wants the Morrisons Island scheme to progress.
“Save Cork City? We want to save Cork city too. My biggest fear is that if we have a similar event like we had in 2009, we may have loss of life. That is a real threat to the city centre here for people that are living in the low-lying areas of it,” he told Cork’s 96FM.
Cork Chamber CEO Conor Healy said the flooding couldn’t have come at a worse time.
“We cannot go on allowing our best approach to be based on luck. We are once again grappling with the devastating effects of spring tides, wind and rain on our city centre, and at a time when businesses are already under incredible stress and pressure with Level 5 Covid restrictions coming into play.
“Had the Morrisons Island flood defences been in place, today’s flooding would not have occurred, as opposed to our current situation which is based on a hope and prayer. We have a solution, and we must start making progress. The LLFRS is ready to go.”
He concluded by saying: “This current chapter in the ongoing flooding of Cork city centre is catastrophic. The scheme is supported by the business community, City Council, the OPW and Government and we must move forward and start progressing solutions.”