The Lough this winter before plans were announced. Photo: Billy mcGill

Here today, swan tomorrow

A proposed 6,000 bed student accommodation complex has been given the go-ahead at the Lough with large-scale drainage expected to start next month.

Developers Gosling & Mallard Ltd filed the application with Cork City Council in February and have been secretly removing wildlife one by one ever since.

CEO of Gosling & Mallard Ltd Annie Chance told the Cork Independent the swans were the toughest to move and required local wildlife experts to use costly tranquiliser darts at the expense of the Irish taxpayer.

She said the swans are now being stored in Páirc Uí Chaoimh where it is hoped their droppings might nourish and improve the pitch’s surface. As for the many fish species that live there, Ms Chance said it will be much easier to remove them after the water has been fully drained.

“It’s imperative that we get this project up and running as soon as possible. If that means intolerable animal cruelty and massive corner cutting, then so be it,” she said.

Ms Chance added that the secretive and rushed nature of the project has resulted in almost no backlash from the public.

“We’ve had one or two objections of course, but nothing we can’t handle. This project will breathe new life into the area. Our students are our future,” said Ms Chance.

It is expected to take up to a million tonnes of cement to completely fill the Lough which local engineers now believe to be “considerably deeper” than previously thought.

“It’s a good mile anyway, straight down,” said engineer Ben Hammrin who is overseeing the early stages of the project.

“We’ve already removed close to 17,000 footballs from the bottom which will be recycled and used as insulation for the new structures,” he said.

Today, 1 April (AKA April’s Fools' Day) saw the arrival of three large water pumps at the Lough which will soon begin the draining process.

Engineers say they are not yet sure what will become of the water with some suggesting it will be bottled and sold to the people of Cork help fund the project.

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