Funding sought for interim prevention works to ease tidal flooding in Cork

The OPW is being urged to allow some funding to be released to Cork County Council engineers so that they can carry out interim prevention works to ease tidal flooding.

The call came after Youghal, Midleton, and Skibbereen were hit with a deluge last weekend.

These towns are already earmarked for millions of euro worth of flood defence projects.

But some councillors said many homes and businesses can’t wait for “the big plan”, as they are now being submerged on an almost yearly basis in coastal areas.

Independent councillor Mary Linehan Foley raised the issue after being granted a suspension of standing orders by her colleagues to discuss what happened last weekend in her hometown of Youghal.

She praised the council for an early warning and its staff and other emergency services for their response.

However, she said the now abolished Youghal Town Council had over the years spent a lot of money trying to build up quay walls.

“Three years ago we had very bad flooding and houses were destroyed. Back then Brian Hayes [then OPW minister] backed more supports, but that didn’t happen,” she said.

“On Sunday morning [last] you couldn’t pass the back street in Youghal. I want [Environment Minister] Alan Kelly to provide money now. I call on him and OPW to visit Youghal and put more sea wall in place,” she said.

Independent councillor Noel Collins agreed and said similar tidal flooding had occurred in Midleton and Carrigtwohill.

Tidal flooding and winds had almost made the main road into Cobh, at Belvelly Bridge, impassable, according to Labour councillor Cathal Rasmussen.

Bandon-based Sinn Féin councillor Rachel McCarthy got the backing of all councillors when she said they should write to the OPW for a comprehensive, up-to-date report on all flood prevention schemes planned in the county.

She said the people of Bandon were lucky to escape for a change, but Kinsale did not. Sinn Féin councillor Paul Hayes said Skibbereen got hit, and it could have been a lot worse only for the prompt actions of council staff and emergency workers.

“We should ask [OPW and Department of Environment] that funding be released for local area engineers to carry out some remedial work in the meantime,” Mr Hayes said.

Ms Linehan-Foley said damage from high tides were going to become more common due to global warming.

She said it wasn’t a question of if, but when, and the town’s quay walls needed to be built up to prevent further damage.

Councillors agreed to write to OPW to seek some interim funding to carry out minor projects which could alleviate the affects of tidal flooding in coastal areas.

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