UCC welcomes 18,000 back following closure


€25M DAMAGE TO UNIVERSITY:UNIVERSITY COLLEGE Cork (UCC) welcomed back about 18,000 students yesterday after it was closed for a week.

The flood damage is estimated to have cost up to €25 million as a total of 29 buildings were hit by the deluge. Thirty per cent of UCC building stock was affected with 13 per cent directly damaged at basement and ground floor levels.

Affected buildings included the Enterprise Centre/Butler Building, Connolly Building, the Granary Theatre, the Mardyke Arena and the Western Gateway Building.

The Lewis Glucksman Gallery suffered extensive flood damage to its basement on November 19th. The flooding posed a severe problem for the gallery, as the basement area housed the art stores, a major plant area and kitchens.

The gallery, built on the Lee flood plain, was overwhelmed. Valuable paintings in the basement were damaged.

More than 500 staff were affected and 2,000 students were forced to evacuate their student residences.

Mark Poland, UCC’s director of buildings and estates, told RTÉ News yesterday that there was no definitive figure as of yet on the overall cost of the damage. He praised workers who put in a tremendous effort over the last 10 days in a bid to reopen the facility.

“There has been a tremendous number of people working here. We had 200-300 people working day and night over the last 10 days. It was a tremendous effort. Some very detailed discussions are ongoing on all that area .

“We don’t have a figure as of yet. It is quite difficult to put a definitive figure on it. It is going to be very significant.”

Meanwhile, a report posted on the UCC website states that the flood was an “unprecedented event that significantly exceeded any previous recorded flood in the UCC campus since the construction of the Inniscarra Dam in the fifties”.

The report also confirms that UCC’s insurance covered flooding risks and that investigations into the flooding will inform future college strategy for the management of flood risk.

“It is difficult at this stage to draw conclusions with regard to the cause of the flood,” it noted.

“The Office of Public Works are finalising a new River Lee catchment flood risk assessment and management study . . . This report and an analysis of the event in the last week will inform future UCC strategy.”