Government announces €150m Cork flood relief scheme

Seán Canney launches project designed to prevent repeat of previous flooding in county

Flooding near Cork city: OPW may fast-track certain elements of flood relief scheme. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

A €150 million flood relief scheme for Cork has been launched by Minister of State for Flood Relief Seán Canney. The project aims to protect more than 2,000 homes and businesses in the city from flooding.

On Monday, the Minister unveiled the Lower Lee scheme which is part of an overall programme of flood relief works.

The scheme involves the Lower Lee, which is downstream form Inniscarra, Co Cork and which passes through Ballincollig, Co Cork. It will also go through Cork city and its tributaries for the purpose of preventing or substantially reducing the periodical localised flooding of lands.

Minister of State for Flood Relief Seán Canney: “What we are doing is to put in as many flood defence schemes as we can.” Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

A copy of the scheme will be available for inspection until late January at City Hall, County Hall and Ballincollig Library.


The proposed flood relief scheme is designed to prevent a repeat of the 2009 fluvial flood and the 2012 and 2014 tidal floods when large tracts of the low-lying city centre were inundated to depths of a metre or more in some instances, causing millions of euro worth of damage.

Construction work

The plan involves advanced flood forecasting and improvements in dam operating procedures at Inniscarra Dam some 15km upstream of Cork to ensure water is released well in advance of predicted floods.

The measures include sealing quay areas currently guarded by railings such as Sullivan’s Quay and George’s Quay on the south channel as well as the North Mall on the north channel. It also involves sealing open parapets on bridges such as the Christy Ring Bridge.

Construction work is expected to begin in late 2017. Work will start down river of the Inniscarra Dam and will progress in phases westwards towards the city centre. It could be 2022 before the scheme is completed.

Due to the urgency of the project, the OPW is investigating the possibility of fast-tracking certain elements of the scheme.

There are likely to be four or five different phases in order to reduce disruption to the city and each phase may overlap with the preceding phase.

Mr Canney said the protection plan could not fully protect the area from future flooding.

“Flooding is dependent on the volume of rainfall and the volume of rainfall is not within our control. I think what we are doing is to put in as many flood defence schemes as we can in this country,” he said.

“And so far this year we have 12 schemes under construction whereas last year we had four schemes. We are incrementally cranking it up to ensure most places will have flood defences.”