City ‘must improve its flood defences’

TWO years after large parts of the city were submerged by some of the worst flooding the country has even seen, Cork still has not implemented adequate flood prevention measures, it has been claimed.

Cork Chamber has called on the various stakeholders to “urgently address the key issues required to restore public confidence” that the city is adequately protected.

The chamber said it was concerned by the length of time being taken to identify and implement measures necessary to safeguard and protect against future major flooding.

Conor Healy, its chief executive, called for:

* Completion of repairs to the quay walls damaged during the 2009 devastation.

* Completion of the current Lee Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and management modelling study and report, including the presentation and costing of the recommended measures for future flood protection.

* Preparation of a detailed implementation plan including prioritisation of works based on an informed cost/ benefit analysis.”

“The severe flooding event in November 2009 highlighted Cork’s liability to severe flooding and the significant risks posed to the residential and business communities of the city and affected areas of the lower Lee catchment,” Mr Healy said. “The chamber proposes the Government should put in place the necessary funding for the required package of flood defences to protect Cork city from future flood events.

“The provision of such infrastructural funding is a worthwhile investment in the context of the losses after the November 2009 flood event.”

A warning system such as Cork County Council’s Bandon Flood Early Warning System should be put in place in Cork city, he said.

“We urge member companies to undertake a review of their own flood protection measures.

“Cork Chamber urges all of those charged with the responsibility for protecting the city to redouble their efforts to restore the confidence of the business community that sufficient action has been taken to investigate the causes and prevent the same thing happening again. We hope the local authorities will update people and businesses on the state of preparedness for flooding.”

On November 19, 2009, millions of tonnes of water were released by the ESB from its Inniscarra dam above Cork city, engulfing vast swathes of the city centre and causing an estimated €100 million damage.

A civic emergency had to be declared as 80,000 people — half the city’s population — were left without drinking water.

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