Government unveils €150m Cork flood protection plan

More than 3,000 Cork City homes and businesses will be given long-overdue protection from devastating floods under a €150m scheme set to be unveiled by Government today.

Independent Alliance TD and minister of state at the office of public works Seán Canney will confirm the move at an event in the city this morning at which the plans will be formally put out for public consultation.

As part of what officials have described as the largest flood relief scheme in Irish history, the Government is due to spend €150m over the coming years on addressing chronic flooding problems in Cork City, which have resulted in five separate crises since 2009.

The long-delayed scheme, which was first called for in response to the November 2009 floods, is aimed at directly protecting 900 homes and 1,200 businesses in the city.

However, due to the plans, up to 1,000 other premises will also benefit from improvement protections.

The scheme, which will be open for public consultation until February 17, is due to see building work begin next year. It includes:

  • ‘Direct defences’ including new walls and embankments on the River Lee and flood gates at set locations;
  • A new fluvial flood forecasting system based on both predictive and real time rainfall, in addition to real time river flows and reservoir level data;
  • New dam discharge procedures for emergency situations at the nearby Carrigadrohid and Inniscarra sites, which were central to the 2009 floods;
  • A new warning system;
  • Drainage improvements.

Construction on the first phase of the multi-million euro project, based around the city’s Morrison’s Island, is expected to begin early next year with separate areas due to see building work in 2018.

However, the entire project is not expected to be completed until the end of the decade.

Both the previous Fianna Fáil government and subsequent Fine Gael-led replacements were criticised for failing to address the situation. A large number of people living and working in the city have been unable to obtain flood insurance since the incidents.

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