Evening high tides pass in Cork without further flooding

Cork Chamber calls on government and local authorities to speed up flood relief scheme

Fri, Jan 3, 2014, 20:03

Fears that Cork would be hit by a second night of flooding proved unfounded tonight after evening time high tides passed without incident despite huge volumes of water flowing down both channels of the River Lee through the city centre.

Cork City Council had issued a flood warning for a high tide at 7pm and both homeowners and business people in the city centre and low-lying areas had sandbags at their doors in anticipation of a repeat of Thursday night flooding when the River Lee overflowed quay walls.

Tonight, flood waters in the River Lee remained contained within both river channels even at high tide, much to the relief of homeowners, businesspeople and Cork City Council.

Attention in Cork now turns to high tides tomorrow and on Sunday, when it’s forecast that stormy weather conditions will again coincide with high spring tides which may again cause the River Lee to overflow the quay walls at various locations in the city centre.

High tides had earlier passed without major incident this morning in Cork.

The combination of high tides and high water volumes in the River Lee had led to waters bursting the quay walls on both the North and South Channels, with Fr Matthew Street, Morrison’s Island and Union quay again flooded to a depth of several inches.

A number of houses in the Crosses Green and Sharman Crawford Street area were flooded last night when water flowed into Wandesford quay - but these areas weren’t as badly affected this morning at high tide.

Local homeowners and businesspeople along the South Mall and Oliver Plunkett Street as well as connecting side streets such as Princes Street, Cook Street, Marlborough Street and Pembroke Street had kept sandbags at the ready for tonight.

Cork Chamber president Gillian Keating earlier called on local authorities and the Government to address the ongoing problems of flooding in low-lying areas of city centre, saying it was having a serious impact on ability to trade.

Ms Keating said “uncertainty in relation to future flood prevention in Cork” was having a serious impact on business “with regard to insurance cover and on future investment and development decisions” in the city centre.

Ms Keating said business owners in Cork city centre were very frustrated over project timelines for the Lower Lee (Cork City) Flood Relief Scheme, due for completion in 2017. She called on the local authorities and national government to ensure no further delay.

“It has been four years since the severe 2009 flooding event, and we are now facing into a further four-year project timeline before Cork city is protected fully from potential future flooding,” she said.

Ms Keating called on local authorities and Minister of State for Public Service Reform and the Office of Public Works Brian Hayes to “do everything possible to ensure that this important work is prioritised”.

It was essential the flood relief scheme was not prolonged by delays in design and construction funding approvals or any other ministerial steps, she said, adding none of the serious flooding events in Cork in recent years had been properly addressed.

“ Given the significant increase in localised flooding events, it is essential that the causes are investigated without delay and the necessary investments are made, accompanied by the implementation of planned warning systems.”