Business groups back OPW’s €140m flood defence plan for Cork

The two main business groups in Cork have endorsed the OPW’s €140m city flood defence plan, writes Eoin English.

Cork Chamber and Cork Business Association (CBA) have prepared submissions for the OPW before Friday’s deadline which back the project. They also call for further engagement on the finishes of direct defences in certain areas; the use of more glass panels at certain locations; and fast-tracking of construction.

The Irish National Flood Forum has also endorsed the project.

The Save Cork City group, which is opposed to the scheme, said it is still finalising its submission but that it will be ready by Friday.

In a joint statement yesterday, the CBA and Chamber said they have pursued the need for flood defences in the city for some time.

Chamber president Barrie O’Connell said the proposed scheme will provide flood protection to 3,179 properties including almost 400 protected structures, and deliver more than 1km of new public walkways, new public plazas, a €20m clean-up and restoration of over 3km masonry quay walls, as well as improving disability access to pathways.

CBA president Pat O’Connell said the OPW’s flood defence plan is the “only realistic option” and has been “well considered, studied, and adapted to the needs of Cork City”.

Chief executive Lawrence Owens said the CBA has been consistent in seeking to strike the right balance between an effective flood defence system and respecting the city’s built and natural heritage.

“This €140m will deliver on both fronts and we will continue to advocate for improvements in terms of finish and aesthetics.”

Irish Flood Forum spokesman Jer Buckley said it has faith in the OPW to deliver for the city, given its record on defence schemes in Mallow, Fermoy, and Clonmel.

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