Government urged to speed up flood relief work for Cork city

Cork Chamber to raise flood relief issue with Minister Brian Hayes during visit

A flooded South Mall in Cork city. Photograph: Daragh McSweeney/Provision

A flooded South Mall in Cork city. Photograph: Daragh McSweeney/Provision

 


The Government was yesterday urged to speed up a €100 million flood relief programme for Cork city as business people and homeowners began a clean-up operation following Monday and Tuesday’s floods which caused an estimated tens of millions of euros worth of damage.

Minister of State for the Office of Public Works Brian Hayes is due in Cork today where he will meet council officials to discuss the flood relief measures which are planned for the city.

Cork Chamber chief executive Conor Healy said the business organisation would be urging Mr Hayes to look at OPW flood protection plans, particularly with a view to the timelines involved and to ensure that money is immediately available to carry out the work.

“The Lee Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management Study commissioned by the OPW is a major study and we need it to come up with correct solutions at the end of the process, but we want to see the project move forward as quickly as possible,” he said.

“We will be asking Mr Hayes to give a clear and unequivocal commitment on behalf of the Government that once the consultation process is completed funding will be made available to begin the flood protection works immediately.”

Lee catchment study
The Lee catchment study was begun in 2006 in the wake of a serious tidal flood in Cork city centre in 2004, and a draft report was published in February 2009. However this was then amended to take account of the 2009 fluvial flood which inundated much of the city centre.

On foot of the amended Lee report, the Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme was prepared involving the provision of flood protection works from west of the city through the city quays down to the marina where the Lee flows into Cork harbour.

It was further amended in 2012 to include flood protection measures to prevent a repeat of flooding which happened in the northside suburbs of Blackpool and Ballyvolane.

The plan was put out for public consultation in 2013.

Several business people in Cork who spoke to The Irish Times as they cleaned up their businesses for the second time in two days spoke of their frustration at how long the proposed flood relief scheme is taking to realise in Cork.

Flood defences
The OPW in a statement said the scheme is expected to consist of a combination of flood defences along the river Lee downstream of Inniscarra dam and through the city centre as well as changes in operating procedures for Inniscarra and Carrigadrohid dams.

“It is currently expected that the scheme consultants [Arups] will make a recommendation in relation to a preferred scheme option in the second half of 2014.”

It said that it then intends to bring the project through a detailed design in the first half of 2015 which would allow the agency to appoint a contractor in the second half of 2015 to carry out the works.