Critics of Cork’s €140m flood defence plan, the largest in the history of the State, have been urged to work with the Office of Public Works (OPW) to secure changes and allow the scheme advance.
Irish National Flood Forum (INFF) spokesman Jer Buckley said Save Cork City campaigners have shown passion for their cause but “very little compassion” for flood victims.
“If half of their efforts were channelled into positive engagement and using their expertise to enhance the scheme, rather than trying to stop it, Cork would really benefit,” he said.
The campaigners have described the scheme’s over-reliance on embankments and raised quay walls as a “brutal assault” on the city’s heritage, and said it lacks imagination and vision.
‘We are strongly in favour of flood relief, but the OPW’s crude, outdated, and destructive plan is not appropriate in Cork,” said a campaign member. “The walls will not help homes and businesses to get insurance.”
Mr Buckley said the INFF has helped draft a bill with Fianna Fáil TD Michael McGrath which, if passed, will make it mandatory for insurance companies to reinsure flooded communities at marketable rates once OPW flood schemes are completed.
“This is another reason why it is critical that this scheme goes ahead quickly,” he said.
Independent councillor Mick Finn said: “We have to accept a compromise between defence and aesthetics. No proper alternatives have been offered by critics.”
Save Cork City said the “level of intervention” proposed by the OPW is unwarranted.
“We call on the city of Cork to join us in opposition to this scheme that we believe represents a disaster for the local economy,” said the spokesman.
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