ESB to appeal 60% liability ruling over 2009 flood damage in Cork

The ESB is to appeal a High Court judgment that found it 60% liable for devastating flood damage to buildings at University College Cork in November 2009.

The ruling, made earlier this week, could potentially lead to hundreds of households and businesses taking cases against the utility.

The ESB said yesterday, that after consulting legal advisors, it had decided to appeal the judgment.

The company said that it remained firmly of the view that, following the heavy rains in November 2009, the actions of ESB staff in the management of the Lee dams protected Cork from the worst of the flooding.

“While we acknowledge that the case involved many complex technical and legal issues, we are disappointed with the judgment,” said ESB chief executive Pat O’Doherty.

“ESB fully defended this case because we believed, and continue to believe, that our operation of the dams complies with best international practice and with our statutory duties.

“Over their history, the Lee dams have greatly reduced the impact of severe floods on Cork City and it was established in court and accepted by all that this was also the case during the 2009 flooding.”

Mr O’Doherty said ESB staff, on the November night in question, had worked tirelessly to protect Cork from the worst impact of the flooding but, regrettably, the unprecedented volume of rainfall resulted in flooding downstream.

Reacting to the news of the appeal, the Mardyke Residents group said: “The victims [of flood damage] expect a speedy Supreme Court decision in favour of UCC.

“Arrangements are now being put in place to hold an open public meeting for all concerned individuals, businesses and legal practitioners as soon as possible,” said spokesman Barry Keane.

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