The Government has been urged to get tough on the insurance industry amid concerns that the most expensive flood defence project in the history of the State may not be enough to restore flood cover to thousands of affected homes and business.

The call came from business leaders in Cork City last night after Sean Canney, the minister of state with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, unveiled long-awaited details of the €140m flood defence plan which has been designed to protect the city from a once-in-a-century flood event.

The Lower Lee Cork City Drainage Scheme contains a raft of measures, including revised dam management procedures, and the introduction of flood warning and flood forecasting systems to protect up to 3,000 homes and businesses.

However, it also includes a mix of engineering proposals which feature flood gates at some footbridges.

The insurance industry said that the design of the Cork scheme is of critical importance to insurance companies.

“It is important that permanent, fixed flood defences are built rather than flood defences which rely on human intervention such as demountables and floodgates,” Insurance Ireland has said.

The representative body said that demountables and floodgates require human intervention to deploy them, and that if they are not deployed correctly or in time, demountables and floodgates will fail.

“Insurers cannot gamble with major weather events,” it said. “Demountables and floodgates do not meet the required flood defence standard of 1:100 years as of January 2012 which insurers generally regard as essential before they would consider providing flood cover in respect of private dwellings and small business.”

The chief executive of the Cork Business Association, Laurence Owens, welcomed the publication of the city’s flood defence plan, describing it as a seminal day for the city’s traders.

However, he said that the insurance issue needed to be tackled.

The Cork Business Association president, Pat O’Connell, said that once the defences are built, there should be no reason why insurance companies would not engage with traders.

“Surely risk of 1:100 should be acceptable to these companies,” he said.

Irish National Flood Forum spokesman Jer Buckley said the State could no longer invest in flood defence schemes and just let insurance companies walk away.

“It is vital that once this scheme is built, we get flood insurance back,” he said. The minister must get tough with the insurance industry.”

Mr Canney accepted yesterday that the Cork flood defence scheme as proposed would not be enough for insurers to restore flood cover to certain areas.

However, he said the Government is meeting quarterly with the industry to provide it with updated protocols on the operation of flood schemes where floodgates and demountables are being used.

“There are certain outstanding issues around demountable defences in certain areas and we are providing the industry with protocols,” he said.

“There should not be an issue here once the scheme is complete and certified.”

News: 7

More on this topic

WATCH: Older woman casually drives mobility scooter through severe floods in UKWATCH: Older woman casually drives mobility scooter through severe floods in UK

Watch: Firefighters evacuate residents as burst water main floods London streetWatch: Firefighters evacuate residents as burst water main floods London street

Cabinet considering 'quick' payments of €5k in flood relief schemeCabinet considering 'quick' payments of €5k in flood relief scheme

Latest: See the extent of the floods in Cork as the ESB restores power to another 13,000 customersLatest: See the extent of the floods in Cork as the ESB restores power to another 13,000 customers


Kya deLongchamps celebrates the collapse of the ivory tower.Vintage View: Celebration of the collapse of the ivory tower

Skincare expert Dr Catharine Denning explains why the dual cleansing approach is best.Why you should be double cleansing every night, according to a dermatologist

CORK is poised to open a new chapter on its heritage, past and present, this weekend. Nano Nagle Place, the unexpected oasis near the city centre, will unveil a combined bookshop, print gallery and map room.Cork opens a new chapter on its history and heritage this weekend

The ribbed fabric is having a fashion moment, says Katie Wright.Get on board with cord: 5 of the best pinafore dresses and how to style them

More From The Irish Examiner